Jessops Calls In Administrators [Again]
The long-suffering high street seems to have been dealt another blow as the ‘household name’ of camera shops, Jessops, has announced it is to appoint administrators for the second time in just over a year. It’s a turn of events that places 120 photography specialists’ jobs on the line.
Jessops, which was famously taken under control by the Dragons’ Den panellist Peter Jones, has seen its fair share of controversy over the years and has had a checkered past since being originally sold by Alan Jessop via MBO in 1996. Peter Jones has said that Jessops had filed a notice to appoint administrators after being hit hard by lockdown restrictions. As per the US Chapter 11 equivalent, the filing will shield the company from creditors on a temporary basis and will gives it the breathing space it clearly needs to find a way for the business to continue, [as stated by the company HQ].
The once sizable chain, which historically boasted a large number of nationwide stores is now owned by Peter Jones’s PJ Investment Group, which bought the company out of administration back in 2013. Its more recent troubles saw the chain pared down to a relatively small 17 shops after more than half its stores were closed after it ran into troubled waters in 2019.
Jessops is now contemplating a company voluntary arrangement [CVA], which is an insolvency procedure that would allow the photo specialist to cut its rents. Naturally, there is some scepticism on the reasoning behind the company’s timing and some have speculated a slightly more devious, calculated manoeuvring of the goalposts, which might allow it to shave costs with the backdrop of Covid as a convenient excuse. Of course, we wouldn’t possible speculate on that! Right now, Peter and his chums at Jessops are in talks with the many camera, drone and accessory brands which the company supplies, along with their partners. PJ Investment Group has stated that it will inject financial support if the company’s management can produce a sustainable business plan.
An official statement from Jessops/PJ Investment Group said that it had worked hard to support the business, which had returned to profit in recent years, following a restructuring and multimillion-pound investment. However, they said, the retail business was changing fast and stated that: “this process has been accelerated by the impact of the pandemic”.
The company is working with restructuring firm FRP on a rescue plan. However, its stores, including flagships on London’s Oxford Street and in Birmingham, will reopen when government restrictions are lifted next month and the website will continue to trade as normal.
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