Jessops Slashes Jobs And Ignores Gift Vouchers

Troubled high street photography retailer Jessops has gone into administration and will no longer accept gift vouchers or returned goods, it has been confirmed.

Sky sources earlier revealed that an application for administration was filed on Wednesday morning at the High Court, leaving some 2,000 jobs at risk.

PwC administrator Rob Hunt 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 and we were appointed earlier today.

"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."

The administrators  added: "At present Jessops is not in a position to honour customer vouchers or to accept returned goods."

The demise of the decades-old chain would be the first high street casualty of 2013, and comes soon after consumer electricals chain Comet hit the wall, sparking more than 6,000 job losses.

Jessops has struggled amid the digital photo revolution and the retail shift to online trading and camera phones.

It underwent a major overhaul in 2007 and a swathe of store closures, but came close to collapse two years later 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% stake in the business in return for writing off £34m 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.

Last year it also lost two key executives, chairman David Adams and chief executive Trevor Moore - who joined HMV.

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.

The company's website was still active on Wednesday afternoon and its helplines were still in operation.