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Closure threat to Plymouth's Jessops as photo chain enters administration

By wtelford  |  Posted: January 09, 2013

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PLYMOUTH'S shopping centre is bracing itself for more woe after photography chain Jessops entered administration and it was announced stores would close.
Administrators for the chain, which has a shop in lower Cornwall Street, blamed a poor pre-Christmas as the final straw.
When The Herald contacted the Plymouth branch staff were unable to comment.
But the store was open and it is understood workers had been made aware of the situation prior to the administrators' announcement.
However, talks were on-going and although administrators at accountancy giant PwC, which has a Plymouth office in Princess Street, said they wanted to save the business, it was warned that closures among the chain's 192 stores were inevitable.
They also said Jessops will not be honouring customer vouchers or accepting returned goods.
If the Plymouth store does shut, it will be the latest blow to the West End of the city centre which has been hit by a huge wave of retail closures which have included Blacks, JJB Sport, Woolworths, Officers Club, Game, Hawkins Bazaar, Derrys, and TJ Hughes, among others.
Just last month, electrical retailer Comet, which also had an outlet at the lower end of the city centre, folded nationally shutting its outlets.
Jessops, which sells photographic equipment both from stores and on-line, employs 2,000 people nationwide, but staff at the Plymouth branch were unable to say how many people worked there.
The group's 2012 turnover was £236million but despite this administrators said its core market has seen a significant decline last year and forecasts for 2013 indicated the decline would continue.
In addition, its market deteriorated in the run up to Christmas as a result of reducing consumer confidence in UK retail.
Despite additional funding being made available to the company by its funders, Jessops failed to generate the profits it had planned.
It was also hit by a credit squeeze from its suppliers.
Rob Hunt, joint administrator and partner at PwC, said: "Over the last few days the directors, funders and key suppliers have been in discussions as regards additional consensual financial support for the business.
"However these discussions have not been successful.
"In light of these irreconcilable differences the directors decided to appoint administrators.
"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.
"Trading in the stores is hoped to continue today but is critically dependent on these ongoing discussions.
"However, in the current economic climate it is inevitable that there will be store closures."

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  • fazer58  |  January 10 2013, 1:14AM

    Sorry that people might be losing their jobs but when I went to Jessops in Cornwall Street last January I found the staff there a lot less than helpful,almost rude in fact.Maybe I was just unlucky but I wasn't impressed at all and have used Argos ever since for camera accessories..

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  • hstmtu4000  |  January 09 2013, 10:43PM

    Sadly given the location of Jessops shop in the already retail devastated West End of the city centre I would very much doubt that it will be one of the lucky shops to survive administration if indeed any do.

  • firkinjeffery  |  January 09 2013, 9:00PM

    Sad as i have always had excellent service from Jessop's, the trouble is we all are aware we can save a fair amount of money x going online, Out of town planning / superstores, the net are killing the high street. So are we x spending our pound were we get the best perceived value. You don't know what you have till its gone!!! f

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  • pogle63a  |  January 09 2013, 8:59PM

    Soon all that wil be left are the Giants - Tesco - Sainsburys - Morrisons etc as one by one the domino effect of their massive buying power knocks over all the competition. Just another nail in the coffin of Plymouths commercial centre.

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  • LouiseR1  |  January 09 2013, 8:57PM

    As a keen photographer I bought a camera last year which cost close to £1000 if purchased from Jessops. A well known shop in Brixham and Internet retailers were selling the same camera for around £800. When I tried to give business to a local shop by asking to price match they refused and claimed that mifsuds didn't have any was too far to match etc. I didn't enjoy their tone and the lack of even trying to give me a deal so left the shop vowing to never return if that was the way they wanted to do business. On a different note the more specialist shop did have them in stock and the next day made a rather nice profit from me, they even charged the battery as they knew I was coming so that I could go out and play straight away. Some may say I was bleeding them dry but how many would take a stash of notes and watch them burn in front of their eyes? Also, as a national chain they should have been able to do the deal over the independent retailer I ended up at. Now who's surprised they've gone bust?

  • jabbathebutt  |  January 09 2013, 7:54PM

    If that is correct about not honouring vouchers or faulty goods returned then its a total disgrace if money is not returned for them at least .

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  • MissAnthrope  |  January 09 2013, 7:52PM

    Unfortunately we have a whole generation of young people who genuinely believe their phone takes good photos.

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  • mcspredder  |  January 09 2013, 7:47PM

    This, sadly, won't be the last. Too many businesses chasing too few sales. The cull which is taking place now should produce a leaner but sustainable retail sector, but many empty premises.

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  • Vinnie_Gar  |  January 09 2013, 6:55PM

    I hope they don't close, its nice to buy from a shop where people know what they're talking about and are not just box chuckers.

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  • Waltersmith  |  January 09 2013, 6:41PM

    Why on earth do people buy vouchers? A sad loss and it again backs up the fact that this part of the centre needs bulldozing and redeveloping pretty quickly

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