Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones has swooped in to buy the brand of collapsed high street photography chain Jessops, which called in administrators at the start of January 2013.
Peter Jones, who amassed his fortune in the communications sector, will run Jessops, which was headquartered in Leicester, as a purely online venture.
PwC partner Rob Hunt said: “We can confirm that we have sold the brand and certain other assets to a number of buyers, including entrepreneur Peter Jones CBE.”
Jessops, which was founded in Leicester in 1935 by Frank Jessop,became the first victim of the UK High Street recession in 2013 when Hunt was appointed as joint administrator, along with Edward Williams and Matthew Hammond, on 9 January 2013. The retail chain was closely followed by HMV, which called in Deloitte.
The photography chain had suffered against online competition for a number of years, avoiding collapse in 2009 when HSBC took a stake in the company in exchange for reducing its debts.
All Jessops’ 187 Stores closed within days of PwC’s appointment, with the loss of 1,370 jobs nationwide. Almost 80 staff at the head office in Leicester were also made redundant later in the week, bringing the total jobs losses in the Midlandsto about 200.
Jessops had a turnover in the year to 31 December 2012 of £236m, the administrators said when the company collapsed. However, its core marketplace had seen a significant decline in 2012 and forecasts for 2013 indicated the rot would continue.
One of the biggest challenges that face any new online enterprise, is the effect of cheap imports from counties like China. Online business will soon account for the majority of sales within the UKif current trends continue, but this does nothing to increase the prosperity ofBritain’s High Street which will continue to spiral if nothing is done to reduce overheads for those remaining businesses that face competition from online companies.