Fears for another big high street name

PUBLISHED: 08:25 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:07 17 October 2019

Peter Jones on rescuing the camera chain, Jessops, back in 205. But the business is now in financial trouble. Pic: Archant

Peter Jones on rescuing the camera chain, Jessops, back in 205. But the business is now in financial trouble. Pic: Archant

Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones is fighting to secure the future of camera chain Jessops, which has a store in Norwich, as he prepares to call in administrators.

JR Prop Ltd, the leasehold property estate manager for the business has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators in a move that raises fears that the 46 Jessops stores across the UK will shut.

It is understood Mr Jones is looking to secure a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) rescue deal with creditors to shut unprofitable sites and slash rents across the chain.

But the holding company of the retail operations, Jessops Europe, remains unaffected by the planned administration.

Jessops, which employs around 500 staff in the stores and is on Davey Place in Norwich, has suffered widening losses, reporting a pre-tax loss of £13 million for the year to the end of April 2018.

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It was bought by Mr Jones and other investors in 2013 after it collapsed into administration, leading to the closure of all its 187 stores and the loss of almost 1,500 jobs.

Mr Jones relaunched Jessops just two months later as part of a £4million investment, hiring many of the chain's former staff. Jessops did have a store in Norwich's Chapelfield shopping centre which closed in January 2013. The store closures saw 175 job losses in the region including 13 iin Norwich and 26 across stores in King's Lynn, Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich.

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But after the buy-out, a new Jessops store launched in Norwich in September 2015, opened by the then Lord Mayor and others re-opened in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich.

At the time of the relaunch, Mr Jones said: "I believe Jessops is an iconic British brand which can lead the retail resurgence on Britain's high streets, powered by new innovations and world-leading, expert staff.

"Image is everything, and even in the mobile and tablet era, there's no substitute for a quality camera when it comes to taking the perfect picture."

The firm began life in 1935 when Frank Jessop opened his first shop in Leicester.

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