High street photo store Jessops ceases trading, all stores to close

High street camera store Jessops has gone into administration today, Wednesday 9 January, appointing PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as administrator.

The camera chain runs about 200 stores in the UK and The Telegraph has reported that up to 2,000 jobs could be at risk. 

The news might not come as a huge surprise, given that Jessops avoided administration and underwent bailout and restructuring in 2009. In 2012, smaller high street photographic retailer Jacobs closed all of its high street stores after a planned sell-off fell through.

Jessops was founded in 1935 by Frank Jessop, opening the first photography store in Leicester. It floated in 2004, but with pressure from increasingly competitive online retailers such as Amazon, we're not surprised to see the decline.

The boom in digital photography has shifted the emphasis away from the high street, with less of a requirement for film or printing services, and the growth in camera phones sees people using their mobile rather than a dedicated camera.

The loss of Jessops on the high street could be quite a blow for shoppers looking to find an extensive array of cameras and accessories to browse and buy.

UPDATE Sky News reports that it has spoken to PwC, which confirms it will be acting as administrator for Jessops. Stores are expected to remain open, but Jessops will not be honouring vouchers or accepting returns. Future store closures are said to be "inevitable".

UPDATE 11 January The BBC reports that all Jessops stores will close with a loss of 1,370 jobs.

Staff of the 200 stores are promised pay will continue during the course of the closure, though that may be little consulation for what's been a dark 12 months for high street photo stores, following the closure of Jacobs last year.

The Jessops website was taken offline at around 17:40 today, replaced by a customer notice saying: "Jessops online and retail stores have ceased trading" with immediate effect. Sad times for the high street.