Jessops, the camera shop owned by Peter Jones of Dragons’ Den, has filed a notice to appoint administrators after it was hit hard by lockdown restrictions.
The company, which was bought in 2013 by Mr. Jones’s PJ Investment Group, currently employs 120 people and operates 17 stores.
It has hired FRP insolvency specialists and said it is now considering a Company’s Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) restructuring process to protect the long-term future.
All Jessops stores, including its flagship locations in Birmingham and Oxford Street in London, are currently closed until April 12 due to the forced closure of non-essential stores.
The latest bad news for Britain’s high street comes two days after John Lewis announced the closure of eight of his stores.
MPs said the move was “devastating” to the future of High Street, while business executives admitted they are “shocked” by an action that has put more than 1,400 jobs at risk.
Jessops, the camera shop owned by Peter Jones of Dragons’ Den, filed notice to appoint administrators after being hit hard by lockdown restrictions
Jessops said it has hired advisers to look at how it can “ develop a new strategy that will allow the company to compete, ” despite the turmoil on the high streets.
A company spokesperson said: “That will undoubtedly include further growth of Jessops ‘digital offering, as well as the opportunities to partner with other retailers to continue Jessops’ high-street presence.
Retail Massacre: How the Pandemic Changed Britain’s High Street
The High Street has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic as people were told to stay indoors for several national lockdowns.
High Street stalwarts such as Debenhams, WH Smith and Clarks did not escape the carnage.
In August, 228-year-old WH Smith said a dramatic drop in sales could force them to keep track of about 11 percent of the workforce.
It was a grim announcement for an already hammered shopping street afterward hundreds of jobs were also cut at the fashion chain M & Co.
The chain also announced the closure of 47 stores, bringing the number of workers laid off as a result of the Covid crisis to over 100,000.
Within a week during the summer, 651 rolls were lost at Byron, 1,700 at risk at DW Sports, 878 lost at Hays Travel, and 1,100 at risk at Pizza Express.
John Lewis cut another 1,500 jobs, adding to the 1,300 jobs when it closed eight stores permanently in July.
The retail giant was widely seen as a measure of High Street performance in the UK.
Lloyds Bank also announced their decision to lay off 1,070 more staff on top of the 865 earlier in the pandemic.
Within the same 24 hours, Marks & Spencer also reported its first loss in its 94 years as a publicly traded company. The company had already shrunk 8,000 employees since March.
And Sainsbury’s also confirmed it would cut about 3,500 jobs in its Argos stores and meat, fish and deli supermarkets, while Clarks Shoes would update the jobs of all 4,000 store employees as part of its struggle for survival.
We are working closely with key suppliers and partners to agree a way forward and PJ Investment Group has confirmed that they are ready to provide additional funding if an appropriate agreement can be reached on sustainably supporting Jessops in the next phase of its development. ‘
Geoff Rowley, partner at FRP, said: ‘Jessops is a long-standing British brand, but like many others, it has faced growing online competition as well as the challenges all high street retailers face in operating through the restrictions imposed during the pandemic.
“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.”
It comes less than two years after a major chain restructuring, which reduced the shopping area from 46 locations to preserve the future.
A spokesperson for PJ Investment Group said: ‘Since 2013, we have worked hard to support the Jessops brand and in recent years have returned the business to profitability through a complete restructuring and significant investments.
However, the retail landscape has continued to evolve rapidly, and this process has been accelerated by the impact of the pandemic on the high street.
“For the past twelve months, we have worked closely with Jessops management to help them take measures to control costs during the pandemic, and have focused on serving Jessops customers through our online store.”
Mr Jones has been a star of BBC program Dragon’s Den since its launch in 2005 and is the show’s only remaining original investor.
On Thursday, 157-year-old retail giant John Lewis said it will close four department stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York, and four more At Home stores in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells.
Five of those stores have opened since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, while the other three are large department stores that have been in the heart of three major cities – Aberdeen, Peterborough and Sheffield – for decades.
In January, the John Lewis Partnership recorded its first ever pre-tax loss of £ 517 million during the pandemic, having previously announced it would close eight stores, including its flagship store in Grand Central, Birmingham.
Those towns and cities now face an epic battle to close the gaping hole that John Lewis has left in their communities, in their shopping districts, and in their job markets.
In Peterborough, the 125,000-square-foot store in Queensgate Shopping Center – which opened in 1982 and is part of a complex owned by Invesco Retail Estate – was the largest closure announced yesterday by the John Lewis Partnership.
The company, which was bought in 2013 by Mr. Jones’s PJ Investment Group, currently has 120 employees and 17 stores
Mr Jones has been a star of BBC program Dragon’s Den since its launch in 2005 and is the show’s only remaining original investor
Shabina Qayyum, member of the investment shadow cabinet for Peterborough City Council, said: “This is devastating news, not only for the hundreds of employees, but also for the heart of Peterborough’s retail industry. This is clearly a turning point for the retail industry. ‘
Paul Bristow, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Peterborough, claimed he had urged Lady Sharon White, chairman of John Lewis, not to close the shop.
“I am extremely disappointed with this decision,” he told the Peterborough Telegraph. Dame Sharon called me this morning, shortly after the staff were notified.
“I asked her how she could justify this closure given the company’s investment in the store and the opportunities in our city.”
In Aberdeen, the 102,000 square foot store that opened in 1989 was a major voice in the city’s £ 150 million recovery plans. Now the nearest shop for locals is 200 miles away in Edinburgh, while a Waitrose alternative is in Stirling 200 miles away.
The latest bad news for Britain’s high street comes two days after John Lewis announced the closure of eight of his stores
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, the business improvement district, said of the move to close the outlet, “I’m a little shocked.”
He told the Times the plans needed to be drastically overhauled, adding, ‘People were traveling long distances across the Highlands and northeast to get to John Lewis, it brought people into the city.
‘This will be a huge challenge for the city center.’
The British Retail Consortium warned that “with visitor numbers already falling significantly over the past year, even outside the lockdown, both independent stores and consumers will feel the loss of these larger stores.”
Dr. Amna Khan, senior lecturer in consumer behavior and retail at Manchester Metropolitan Business School, warned today that the closure of several major John Lewis sites will have a ‘domino effect’ on other businesses.
Last week, the government unveiled a £ 56 million fund to help Britain’s ailing shopping district.
The money is intended to brighten up shopping centers and funds beer and food festivals.
An additional 9,000 pubs are expected to open for diners on April 12, as cut backs on red tape allow businesses to build marquees in gardens and have tables in streets across England.
Particular attention will be paid to coastal cities, which will receive £ 6 million from the funding pot.
Municipalities can use the money to brighten up their shopping streets with flower boxes, improvements to landscaping and the removal of graffiti.
Malicious parking companies will also be tackled to give shoppers easier access to city centers.