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UK's biggest high-street camera store enters administration

By dpreview staff on Jan 9, 2013 at 18:37 GMT

The UK's biggest high-street camera retailer, Jessops, has gone into administration, putting 192 stores and 2,000 jobs at risk. The company's website is not accepting orders and administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers has said vouchers and returns would not be honoured at present. The company, that has been slow to respond to competition from internet retailers, was rescued in 2009 by HSBC, which bought into the company in return for writing off some of its debts. However, increasingly stringent credit terms imposed by suppliers (a common move when there is doubt surrounding the future of a company), and predictions of further falls in camera sales led to the administrators being called.

The move follows the collapse of the country's largest independent photographic chain, Jacobs, in June 2012.


PricewaterhouseCoopers Press Release:

The Jessop Group Limited – in administration (“Jessops or the Company”)

Edward Williams, Rob Hunt and Matthew Hammond of PwC were appointed joint administrators of The Jessop Group Limited on 9 January 2013.

Jessops is a major high- street retailer of photographic equipment and growing on line business. Turnover in the year to 31 December 2012 was £236m and Jessops operated from 192 stores with around 2000 employees throughout the UK. It has a well-known brand, strong reputation for service
and a significant national footprint.

However, its core marketplace has seen a significant decline in 2012 and forecasts for 2013 indicate that this decline would continue. In addition, the position deteriorated in the run up to Christmas as a result of reducing confidence in UK retail. Despite additional funding being made available to the company by the funders, this has meant that Jessops has not generated the profits it had planned with a consequent impact on its funding needs. This was exacerbated by a credit squeeze in the supplier base.

Rob Hunt, joint administrator and partner, PwC said:

“Over the last few days the directors, funders and key suppliers have been in discussions as regards additional consensual financial support for the business. However these discussions have not been successful. In light of these irreconcilable differences the directors decided to appoint
administrators and we were appointed earlier today.

“Our most pressing task is to review the Company's financial position and hold discussions with its principal stakeholders to see if the business can be preserved. Trading in the stores is hoped to continue today but is critically dependent on these ongoing discussions. However, in the current economic climate it is inevitable that there will be store closures.”

Finally, at present Jessops is not in a position to honour customer vouchers or to accept returned goods.

Comments

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thomas2279f
By thomas2279f (Jan 9, 2013)

Feel sorry for the staff involved and for those comet employees before Xmas, Jessops was quite handy in picking up gear and prices on bodies were competitive; what I didn't like is that for every purchase they kept on push the expensive warranty on to you and pressure you in doing so.

Hope at the worse they can chop down on branches in major cities and keep it on line, the high street is getting pretty sparse in the UK for different stores.

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Will Patterson
By Will Patterson (Jan 9, 2013)

Quite a depressing day all round as Play also announced that they are ceasing their direct retail operations.

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bigfatron
By bigfatron (Jan 10, 2013)

Slightly different reasons though. Play are bailing out because of closure of a tax loophole they've been exploiting in order to pay virtually no VAT to anyone. And the fact that Rakuten bought them a couple of years back for only £25m suggests they've not been doing all that well for a bit.

As for Jessops, always sad to see job losses. However, can't say they added enough value to the experience to justify paying the premiums they demanded. Good deals were few and far between. The price for accessories/consumables was often multiples more expensive than elsewhere. And given this is the second or third time they've been in trouble in recent years then it can come as little surprise.

I also feel sorry for people who have been lumbered with vouchers from Xmas that they now can't spend and would've been sold by a company knowing they were right on the brink.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
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diplomat85
By diplomat85 (Jan 10, 2013)

Amazon, you're next!

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camerashopminion
By camerashopminion (Jan 9, 2013)

Woohoo! Wonder if I'll still have a job by next week?

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KieranGee
By KieranGee (Jan 9, 2013)

Depends upon if you work in a profitable store I'd imagine..

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camerashopminion
By camerashopminion (Jan 9, 2013)

The bottom quarter of the company scorecard says hi. Nuff said.

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Mark H B Findlay
By Mark H B Findlay (Jan 9, 2013)

Good luck - I hope you make it through.

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diplomat85
By diplomat85 (Jan 10, 2013)

Best of luck...hope something works out for you squire!

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