Jessops jobs on the line as chain is 2013's first casualty

Administrator holds out little hope that company will be able to find a buyer

Jessops has become the first high street casualty of 2013, collapsing into administration today and leaving 2,000 jobs hanging by a thread.

The camera store chain, which has 192 stores, called in the accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers as administrator after its trading worsened at the end of last year and HSBC, its main lender, called time on any lingering hopes of a turnaround.

There had been speculation that one or more of its suppliers, such as the camera makers Canon or Nikon, would invest in the 77-year-old retailer to keep it going but PwC said its core market had seen a "significant decline" in 2012 and this was forecast to continue this year.

Rob Hunt, the joint administrator at PwC, said crisis talks in recent days involving directors, lenders and key suppliers had "not been successful".

The administrators also warned that store closures were "inevitable" and industry experts believe they were unlikely to find a buyer, although other retailers will want to buy Jessops' best stores and the brand could survive online.

Jessops will not honour customer vouchers or accept returned goods, dealing a blow to many who received gift cards or presents over Christmas.

The company, founded in Leicester by Frank Jessop in 1935, has been hit by the inexorable shift to online shopping and to smartphones with in-built cameras. The chain made a loss of £5.2m in the year to January 2012.

Jessops' administration follows the collapse of 194 retailers last year, including JJB Sports, Peacocks, Blacks Leisure, Clinton Cards, Game Group, and La Senza. Most emerged from administration under new owners but the electricals chain Comet and the gift retailer Past Times disappeared from the high street.

Its demise will surprise few in the industry, as it has continued to lose money and avoided administration in 2009 only by implementing a painful debt-for-equity swap which saw HSBC take a 47 per cent stake. This led to Jessops delisting from the Stock Exchange in January 2010. HSBC wrote off £34m of loans but left the retailer carrying debt of £20m, according to Retail Week Knowledge Bank. Jessops' final-salary pension fund, which has been closed to new staff since 1997, also ended up owning a third of the retailer.

Mr Hunt said PwC hoped the chain could continue trading, but "in the current economic climate it is inevitable that there will be store closures".

The electricals and entertainment sector has been particularly badly hit by the structural shift to online retailing and the consumer downturn, highlighted by the US giant Best Buy closing its 11 UK stores in early 2012.

HMV, the troubled entertainment chain, is also not out of the woods, following it issuing a "going concern" warning, alongside half-year losses of £37.3m, before Christmas. Trevor Moore, the former boss of Jessops, became HMV's chief executive in September.

Meanwhile, the online entertainment retailer Play.com said it was closing its UK retail business after the Government closed a tax loophole for companies operating from the Channel Islands. Play.com, which is owned by Japan's Rakuten, had benefited from low-value consignment relief, which allowed it to avoid paying VAT on CDs and DVDs sold to the UK below £15.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness