Dragon’s Den star plans to call in administrators for Jessops stores

Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones is fighting to secure the future of camera chain Jessops on the high street as he prepares to call in administrators for the stores.

JR Prop Ltd – the leasehold property estate manager – has filed a notice of intention to appoint Resolve as administrators in a move that raises the spectre of closures among the 46 Jessops stores.

It is understood Mr Jones is looking to secure a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) rescue deal with creditors to shut unprofitable sites and slash rents across the chain.

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Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones bought Jessops in 2013 after it collapsed into administration (Ian West/PA)

But the holding company of the retail operations – Jessops Europe – remains unaffected by the planned administration.

Jessops, which employs around 500 staff in the stores, has suffered widening losses, reporting a pre-tax loss of £13 million for the year to the end of April 2018.

It was bought by Mr Jones and other investors in 2013 after it collapsed into administration, leading to the closure of all its 187 stores and the loss of almost 1,500 jobs.

Mr Jones relaunched Jessops just two months later as part of a £4 million investment, hiring many of the chain’s former staff who lost their jobs.

At the time of the relaunch, Mr Jones said: “I believe Jessops is an iconic British brand which can lead the retail resurgence on Britain’s high streets, powered by new innovations and world-leading, expert staff.

“Image is everything, and even in the mobile and tablet era, there’s no substitute for a quality camera when it comes to taking the perfect picture.”

The firm hit the rails in 2013 after suffering from online competition and a boom in camera phones over recent years, which hit demand for digital cameras.

It had struggled since 2007, when it underwent a major overhaul with a swathe of store closures.

The firm began life in 1935 when Frank Jessop opened his first shop in Leicester.

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