Jessops back in profit after Peter Jones buy-out

The high-street photography chain Jessops has announced it will open six new stores across the country after reporting healthy profits in its first year of trading since it was bought out of administration by Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Peter Jones.

Jessops, which was founded by Frank Jessop in Leicester in 1935, was the first major high street victim of the recession, entering administration on 9 January 2013 as a result of the credit crunch and consumer migration from film-based and digital cameras to mobile devices.

Jessops ceased trading on 11 January 2013 with debts of around £80m, including £42.6m to listed creditors. In total, customers who had made deposits and not yet received goods were owed £201,000.

The company has now announced an ambitious expansion plan after revealing an operating profit of £280,000 on the back of sales of more than £56m. Jesspos had a turnover in the year up to 31 December 2012 of £236m but had seen a major decline in its core marketplace.

Jessops is set to open stores in Reading, Milton Keynes, Canterbury, Hull and Kingston in November. The first, in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, is due to open this month.

Chairman Peter Jones said: “This is a great result and I’m excited that we’ve been able to restore an iconic British high-street brand.

“With the right formula and strategy, the high street is full of potential for growth and job creation – our new stores will create over 100 new jobs before Christmas.”

Jessops online photo business was also purchased by Peter Jones along with CeWe Color and restructuring specialist Hilco, at a cost of around £1 million.

Jones added: “Our strategy for success is a multi-channel strategy, within which the high street plays a key role. It is all about giving shoppers choice on how to buy: either shop in-store (where they can get hands-on experience), order by phone, shop online 24/7 or benefit from the collect at store service.”

Jones also announced a new partnership deal with Sainsbury’s, in which Jessops will launch a store-within-a-store at the supermarket chain. Sainsbury’s customers will also have access to Jessops full range of more than 2,000 imaging products via its collect-at-store service.

“Our partnership with Sainsbury’s gives us the opportunity to extend our collect-at-store coverage, as well as bringing some unique new services to Sainsbury’s shoppers,” Jones said.

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Tom Seymour

Tom Seymour is an Associate Editor at The Art Newspaper and an Associate Lecturer at London College of Communication. His words have been published in The Guardian, The Observer, The New York Times, Financial Times, Wallpaper* and The Telegraph. He has won Writer of the Year and Specialist Writer of the year on three separate occassions at the PPA Awards for his work with The Royal Photographic Society.