Dragon’s Den star gets extra two weeks to secure Jessops stores future

Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones has delayed the planned restructuring of camera chain Jessops by two weeks as he thrashes out a rescue deal with landlords of high street stores.

Mr Jones is understood to have secured a two week extension to the notice of intention to appoint administrators for the stores.

It comes as Mr Jones – who bought Jessops out of administration in 2013 – is looking to agree rent cuts with landlords and possible store closures across the 46-strong chain.

JR Prop Ltd – the leasehold property estate manager – filed a notice of intention to appoint Resolve as administrators two weeks ago.

Mr Jones is believed to be looking to secure a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) rescue deal with creditors to shut unprofitable sites and slash rents.

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

Jessops Europe, which employs around 500 staff in the stores, saw sales slump 11% to £84.7 million in the year to the end of April 2018, though underlying earnings lifted 31% to £1.64 million.

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.

Jessops declined to comment.

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