Camera retailer Jessops files to appoint administrators

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Camera retailer Jessops files to appoint administrators

High Street photographic equipment chain Jessops has filed a notice to appoint administrators.

The camera retailer, which employs 120 staff and has 17 stores, is owned by Dragons' Den star Peter Jones.

Jessops said it had hired advisors FRP to help it restructure the business, severely impacted by the pandemic.

The notice of intent provides the business with protection for 10 days from existing or pending creditor claims.

The retailer said it planned to continue to trade when lockdown restrictions lift in April.

It is considering a rescue deal in the form of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), an insolvency process that allows a business to reach an agreement with its creditors to pay off all or part of its debts.

"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," said Geoff Rowley, partner at specialist business advisory firm FRP.

"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."

This is not the first time that Jessops has been in trouble.

In October 2019, a similar notice was filed by the camera chain, and prior to that, Mr Jones bought the chain from administrators in 2013 after it collapsed under £81m of debt.

A CVA can mean that a retailer's landlords would have to accept a percentage of a shop's revenue for their rent, instead of relying on a fixed lease.

The process is often used as an opportunity to renegotiate rents.

The High Street has been badly affected by the pandemic, which forced shops to shut their doors during the crucial Christmas and Easter holidays.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics show retail sales rose 2.1% in February, but were still down by 3.7% on a year earlier, before the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Clive Chalkley, partner at law firm Gowling WLG said: "Bricks and mortar retailers have been heavily affected by the ongoing lockdowns.

"Unfortunately for Jessops, which is quite specialist, its products can now be easily acquired online, which will have accelerated the process."

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