JESSOPS the specialist camera chain yesterday became the first major retailer of 2013 to collapse into administration, as analysts warned 140 retailers were at risk of following in its footsteps.
PwC, which was appointed administrator, said it was now in eleventh hour talks to save the 192-store business but warned closures were inevitable, putting more than 2,000 jobs at risk.
The final straw came when nervous suppliers, which include Nikon and Canon, pulled their support.
PwC said Jessops had seen a “significant decline” in 2012 and that its position unravelled in the run-up to Christmas.
Despite its majority owner and lenders HSBC and PPF (Pension Protection Fund) injecting further funds into the business, “this meant Jessops has not generated the profits it had planned,” said PwC.
An estimated £30m is still owed by Jessops to its lenders.
Recent research by business recovery group Begbies Traynor showed that over 13,700 retailers experienced “significant distress” in the 11 weeks to 17 December 2012, a 35 per cent jump from the third quarter.
It now has 140 retailers on its critical watch list – indicating they are in danger of collapse.
Bang & Olufsen, the designer hi-fi brand, also announced it is closing 125 of its 859 stores as it reported a 44 per cent decline in second quarter profits before tax.