Jessops For Sale?
Specialist high street photo retailer, Jessops, is no stranger to turbulence. After fresh rumours stirred by movements at the top of the business and a few recent headlines citing weeks of talks with landlords on a potential restructuring agreement, is the UK’s most recognisable camera shop about to change hands again?
Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones appeared as the ‘saviour’ of the once-mighty Jessops chain in 2013 after the business became insolvent due to £81 million of debt which led to the closure of its 187 stores, forcing some 2000 job losses. Peter emerged promising huge developments from within the business, coupled with some extraordinary predictions of future profits. After the re-opening of selected stores and six years on without the realisation of said profits, it appears that Mr Jones is now contemplating the sale of Jessops.
The dealer, who currently employs around 500 members of staff, has seen significant investment from PJ since buying up the chain in 2013, including £5m in 2019 alone.
Perhaps surprisingly, due to the proximity of the traditionally buoyant, festive trading period before us, PhotoBite has learned that Peter Jones, [PJ] has been conducting talks with potential buyers amid uncertain retail conditions that continue to trouble Britain’s high streets. The discussions with [unnamed] buyers come just six weeks after PJ registered a notice of intention to appoint administrators to JR Prop Limited; the company that manages Jessops’ leasehold stores. The talks have been said to be at an early stage. Also, not so long after it emerged that CEO Neil Old had left the business, it’s been said that a potential sale of the business is just one of the options currently being examined by the chain’s board.
The dealer, who currently employs around 500 members of staff, has seen significant investment from PJ since buying up the chain in 2013, including £5m in 2019 alone. It seems that the ongoing turbulence with high street spending, coupled with high rents, business rates and Brexit uncertainty, may just provide the tipping point that sees Mr Jones sell up once and for all.
Let us know your thoughts on this story. Would you be sorry to see Jessops disappear or is the retailer another inevitable victim of our times? Can they survive and what could Jessops improve in order to make that happen?