Jobs at risk as Jessops goes into administration

The Jessops store in the Arc, Bury St Edmunds.   Following news today that the firm was to enter administration.
The Jessops store in the Arc, Bury St Edmunds. Following news today that the firm was to enter administration.
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Photographic retailer Jessops went into administration today and is not honouring customer vouchers or accepting returned goods.

The major high-street chain opened a store in the arc shopping centre, Bury St Edmunds, less than two months ago.

It’s previous site in the town’s Traverse was forced to close after a fire at Cupola House in June.

Rob Hunt, of administrator PwC, said: “Over the last few days the directors, funders and key suppliers have been in discussions as regards additional consensual financial support for the business. 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.

“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.”

The company’s turnover last year was £236 million but Mr Hunt said its core marketplace saw a significant decline in 2012 and that forecasts for 2013 had indicated that that decline would continue.

“In the current economic climate it is inevitable that there will be store closures,” he said.

Colin Roberts, arc centre manager, said: “We really don’t know anymore than anyone else. We had heard a rumour over the last couple of days and that seems to be coming true.

“Obviously the details of the lease are confidential but this was not something we were anticipating when we did the deal with them.

“It’s really very very sad. I feel very sorry for the staff that are in there. It started off as real excitement not that long ago and, as we understand it, the shop’s been trading really well.

“It’s a bit of a shock and surprise to everyone. We just hope there’s a satisfactory result. We’re still hopeful that the administrators will be able to sell it as a going concern.”

He said there had been interest in the former Peacocks unit which has remained empty since February last year and that the town would be able to cope with whatever happened to Jessops.

He said: “Bury’s doing better than a lot of towns. It’s in a very healthy position but these are national chain issues. It’s a bit of a concern but I’m sure Bury and the arc will ride this one out.”

Staff at the Bury store say they have not, as yet, been told anything official.