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Camera retailer Jessops enters administration
FEARS for the future of camera retailer Jessops are mounting as the firm entered administration.
The chain, headquartered in Leicester, appointed Edward Williams, Rob Hunt and Matthew Hammond of PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) as administrators, after suffering in recent years from online competition and the boom in camera phones, which has hit demand for digital cameras.
Mr Hunt said trading was hoped to continue while discussions continue, but he said store closures were "inevitable". He said staff would continue to be paid as normal if they attended work, but the business would not accept vouchers or returned goods from customers.
He said: “Our most pressing task is to review the company's financial position and hold discussions with its principal stakeholders to see if the business can be preserved.”
In a statement the administrators said the £236 million-turnover business's core marketplace had seen a significant decline in 2012 and forecasts for 2013 indicated the decline would continue.
Its position deteriorated in the run up to Christmas as a result of reducing confidence in UK retail.
Additional funding was made available to the company by its funders, but Jessops has not generated the profits it had planned which consequently had an impact on its funding needs. This was exacerbated by a credit squeeze in the supplier base, the statement said.
In July, Jessops moved its York store into new bigger premises in the former Game shop in Spurriergate. It relocated from its previous site in the White Swan Hotel building in Piccadilly, which is to be redeveloped.
York previously had three Jessops stores, including ones at Parliament Street and Monks Cross.
The business has 192 stores and employs about 2,000 people throughout the UK.
Jessops underwent a major overhaul and a swathe of store closures in 2007, when York had three stores, which all escaped the cut at the time but two have since closed.
The business also came close to collapse in 2009 before being rescued by its main lender HSBC in a controversial debt-for-equity swap that saw it taken off the stock market.
The bank took a 50 per cent stake in the business in return for writing off £34 million of loans.
There was speculation last year that suppliers such as Canon were considering injecting cash into Jessops to help prop the business up, but no deal materialised.
The group last year also suffered the loss of its chief executive Trevor Moore, who left to head up HMV, as well as its chairman David Adams.
Martyn Everett was then appointed as chairman and Neil Old was promoted to lead the business as chief operating officer.
The firm began life in 1935 when Frank Jessop opened his first shop in Leicester.