Peter Jones-backed camera chain Jessops files to hire administrators

Jessops, the camera retailer owned by Dragons’ Den’s Peter Jones, has filed a notice to appoint administrators after it was badly hit by lockdown restrictions.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 3:54 pm
Updated Friday, 26th March 2021, 3:56 pm

The company, which was bought by Mr Jones’s PJ Investment Group in 2013, currently employs 120 staff and runs 17 stores.

It has hired insolvency specialists FRP and said it is now considering a Company’s Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) restructuring process in a bid to protect its long-term future.

All of Jessops’ stores, including its flagship sites in Birmingham and London’s Oxford Street, are currently closed until April 12 due to the enforced closure of non-essential shops.

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Peter Jones outside the Jessops store in Oxford Street, central London

Jessops said it has appointed advisers to look at how it can “carve out a new strategy that will enable the business to continue to compete”, despite turmoil on the high street.

A spokesman for the business said: “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.”

Geoff Rowley, partner at FRP, said: “Jessops is a long-established British brand, but like many others, it has faced growing online competition, as well as the challenges faced by all high street retailers in operating through the restrictions imposed during the pandemic.

“We are working closely with PJ Investment Group and the wider Jessops management team to consider all options to secure a future for the retailer.”

It comes less than two years after a major restructuring at the chain, which reduced its store estate from 46 sites in a bid to preserve its future.

A spokesman for PJ Investment Group said: “Since 2013 we’ve worked hard to support the Jessops brand, and returned the business to profitability in recent years through a complete restructuring and significant investment.

“However, the retail landscape has continued to evolve rapidly, and this process has been accelerated by the impact of the pandemic on the high street.

“Over the last twelve months we have worked closely with Jessops management and assisted them in taking steps to manage the costs throughout the pandemic and have focused on servicing Jessops’ customers through our online store.”

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