British camera chain slumps into administration
LONDON (AFP) – British camera retailer Jessops has collapsed into administration after struggling over the key Christmas trading period, putting about 2,000 jobs at risk, administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers announced on Wednesday.
PwC said in a statement that it would explore ways to preserve the group, which has 192 shops dotted across Britain, but warned that store closures would be “inevitable”.
“Over the last few days the directors, funders and key suppliers have been in discussions as regards additional consensual financial support for the business,” said PwC joint administrator and partner Rob Hunt.
“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.”
Jessops is the latest struggling British retailer to fall into administration – which is the process whereby a troubled company calls upon independent expert financial help in an attempt to remain operational.
“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,” added Hunt.
“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.”
In France, the music and book retailer Virgin Megastore, part of the British group Virgin, also said on Tuesday that it had filed for insolvency, with observers doubtful that it will be able to survive.
Britain’s electrical retailers operating out of stores are facing dual pressure from tough economic conditions and online competition, analysts say. Retail chain Comet had collapsed into administration late last year and shut its doors for the last time in December.
“Jessops is a major high-street retailer of photographic equipment and growing on line business,” added PwC in Wednesday’s statement.
“However, its core marketplace has seen a significant decline in 2012 and forecasts for 2013 indicate that this decline would continue.