Jessops closes all stores with the loss of 1,370 jobs

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Chief Reporter

ADMINISTRATORS have announced the closure of all Jessops camera shops, with the loss of 1,370 jobs.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which was appointed to the group on Wednesday, said it would begin the process of shutting the 187-store network at the close of business today (Friday).

The administrators said further job losses are likely at the group’s head office in Leicester.

Jessops is Britain's only specialist nationwide camera retailer, with about 200 outlets - including shops in Darlington, Harrogate, the MetroCentre, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Sunderland and York.

A sign pinned to the door of the branch on High Row, in Darlington, tonight (Friday, January 11) advised that the store was now closed and customers should visit the company’s website - jessops.com. 

A member of staff working inside the shop declined to comment.

The chain is the first high-profile retail casualty of 2013, after suffering from online competition and a boom in camera phones in recent years, hitting demand for digital cameras.

Rob Hunt, joint administrator at PwC, said it was an "extremely sad day for Jessops and its employees".

He added that the decision to shut down the business came after discussions with suppliers "around their support for ongoing trading", which were not forthcoming.

"The stock will be collected over the coming days and returned to a central warehouse. It will be returned to suppliers if they are entitled to it. As a consequence of the closure, Jessops is no longer able to accept returned product from customers," Mr Hunt said.

"We will continue to ensure that employees are paid as they assist us during the closure."

Jessops was forced to call in the administrators this week after talks between the company and its lender and suppliers broke down after a poor Christmas of trading.

Jessops had struggled since 2007 when it underwent a major overhaul with a swathe of store closures.

It came close to collapse two years later before being rescued by its main lender HSBC in a controversial debt-for-equity swap that saw it taken off the stock market.

The camera giant's collapse comes after consumer electricals chain Comet hit the wall last year, leading to more than 6,000 job losses.

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