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Jessops files for administration (again) after business decimated by lockdown

Jessops
(Image credit: James Artaius / Digital Camera World)

Jessops, Britain's 86-year-old specialist camera retailer, has filed for administration again, following severe business disruption caused by the lockdown restrictions imposed to combat the COVID pandemic. 

The filing marks the third time that Jessops has called in administrators, with the the troubled retailer's 17 stores and 120 employees all at risk. It has hired an insolvency specialist and is now exploring a Company’s Voluntary Arrangement restructure to protect the business. The chain is currently owned by Dragon's Den entrepreneur Peter Jones, who bought Jessops in 2013.

“We have filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators with a view to consider a CVA process in order to protect the business for our staff, our partners and creditors as we look to carve out a new strategy that will enable the business to continue to compete," said a company spokesperson (by way of City A.M.).

“No doubt, that will include further growing Jessops’ digital offering, as well as considering the opportunities to partner with other retailers to continue Jessops’ high street presence.

“We are working closely with key suppliers and partners to agree a way forward and PJ Investment Group have confirmed that they stand ready to provide additional funding if a suitable agreement can be reached on sustainably supporting Jessops in the next stage of its development.”

Jessops last entered administration in October 2019, where its 63% of its 46 stores were shuttered and its 500-strong workforce was culled by 76%. 

During that process it was revealed that the company "has not made a single profit" since its 2013 collapse – the first time that Jessops entered administration, with an announced closure of all 187 stores and loss of 1,370 jobs, at which point it was bought by TV Dragon Peter Jones, through his PJ Investments Group. 

At its peak, Jessops – founded in 1935 by Frank Jessop in Leicester and run as a family business until 1996 – had 315 stores and was so successful that it twice considered floating on the London Stock Exchange. 

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James started working in the photographic industry in 2014 as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy – successor to David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus. In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. An Olympus and Canon user, James was previously technique editor on PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine.