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

(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. (opens in new tab)).

“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 (opens in new tab) 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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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded 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. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.