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Jessops to call in administrators; "has not made a single profit" since 2013 collapse

Jessops to call in administrators; "has not made a single profit" since 2013 collapse
(Image credit: James Artaius / Digital Camera World)

UPDATE 18 October: The original report by the BBC noted that Jessops turned over £7.5 million in the year following the Peter Jones acquisition. The outlet has since modified its story with a figure of £57.9 million – the story below has been updated to reflect this.

ORIGINAL STORY: British high street retail chain Jessops looks like it's about to go into administration for the second time in six years. 

The specialist camera store was rescued from an £81 million collapse in 2013 by Dragons' Den star, Peter Jones. Now Jones plans to call in the administrators again to rescue the ailing retailer. 

According to Sky News (opens in new tab), JR Prop Limited – the arm which manages the firm's leasehold property estate – has filed a notice of intention to appoint restructuring advisory firm Resolve.

A report by the BBC (opens in new tab) notes that Jessops saw its rent costs increase to £4.7 million last year – an increase in lease charges from £4.4 million in 2017. Such is the challenge of being a high street retailer in the internet age.

Jones is said to be seeking a rescue deal with landlords and lenders known as a CVA (company voluntary agreement) – an insolvency arrangement to address debts with the company's various creditors.

Jessops' store in Oxford Street, London, today

Jessops' store in Oxford Street, London, today  (Image credit: James Artaius / Digital Camera World)

At present it is unclear to what extent this will the affect the firm's 500 staff and its brick-and-mortar stores nationwide, but Sky reports that it "raises the prospect of a significant number of Jessops' 46 shops being shut during the coming months". 

According to the site's sources, "placing JR Prop into insolvency proceedings would provide the most effective means of streamlining Jessops' operations to ensure their survival."

It's a tragic case of déja vu for the retailer, which saw all 187 of its stores shuttered in January  2013 under an £81 million mountain of debt, before being bought by Jones two months later.

At the time Jones – one of the most (in)famous British businessmen, thanks to his role on Dragons' Den – predicted that the resurrected company would see sales of £80 million in its first year; according to the BBC, it actually turned over just £7.5 million £57.9 million for the period.

Jones also (in)famously rubbished the notion of camera phones (opens in new tab) impacting the traditional camera market, stating that, "The amateur photographer, you wouldn't see them walking down the street taking that perfect picture with a mobile phone."

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James Artaius
James Artaius

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.