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