High Street camera retailer Jessops, who once traded out of the largest photography store in the world, has gone into administration.
The firm, who have been hit hard by increased competition from supermarkets, online retailers, the growing use of smartphones to take pictures and the changing attitudes of consumers who prefer to store pictures digitally instead of paying to print, becomes the first high profile company to enter into administration in 2013 after a number of firms suffered the same fate last year namely Comet, JJB Sports and Game.
Founded in Leicestershire in 1932 with 192 stores in the UK and around 2,000 staff who are now all at risk, the camera retailer has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as administrators. PwC said that whilst the company is a well-known brand with a strong reputation for service, its core marketplace had seen a significant decline in 2012, which was forecast to continue in 2013. The company is believed to have debts of around £80m.
In 2009, Jessops narrowly managed to avoid administration by agreeing a debt for equity swap deal with its lender HSBC, who became its largest shareholder, but has not made a profit since. Rob Hunt, joint administrator and partner at PwC, said: “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”.
PwC are now tasked with the job of finding a buyer for the company and whilst the store is expected to continue trading for the time being, it appears “inevitable” that some stores will have to close.
Customers should be warned that at present Jessops will not be honoring customer vouchers (despite gift vouchers still being available to purchase) or accept returned goods, although supermarket Tesco has said that it will give a full refund to any customer who has recently exchanged Clubcard vouchers for tokens to spend with Jessops.