Dragons’ Den star relaunches Jessops stores

BBC Dragon Peter Jones
BBC Dragon Peter Jones

COLLAPSED camera chain Jessops is to be given a new lease of life today after Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Peter Jones bought the brand from administrators last month.

Jessops will reopen 30 stores in April at the rate of one a day after launching an initial six outlets today, including Jessops’ flagship on Oxford Street.

The move comes as a boost to Britain’s ailing high streets, and will create up to 500 jobs, with Jones confident that Jessops will generate sales of over £80m in its first year. Jones, who is also chief executive of Phones International Group, was originally thought to have bought the brand and stock with the intention of only re-launching an online business.

But yesterday he told City A.M this was a “complete red-herring”.

“There was no intention other than to open retail again. But I realised that the only way to make it work is that we needed to get proper national coverage.”

All of Jessops’ stores closed in December with the loss of 2,000 jobs. Jones, who will act as chairman and chief executive, said he has recruited a “large proportion” of its former staff. Jones has spent £4m on the acquisition and refitting stores with features such as kiosks where people can “walk in and create photo albums.”

“Our cost base to do all that will be 15-20 per cent of the previous business and that makes a big difference when competing in retail.”

Jones said he believed there was a future for retailers that operate a collect-in-store model alongside a strong online offer. “The internet has grown incredibly but will suffer.

“And I think the likes of Amazon will feel the effects because I think the consumers will want more.”

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