Jessops camera stores to close with loss of 1,370 jobs

Jessops store Jessops has faced competition from online retailers

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High Street camera retailer Jessops has shut all of its stores, resulting in the loss of about 1,370 jobs.

Administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), appointed this week, said the doors had been closed for the last time on all 187 stores in the UK.

More jobs would be lost at the head office in Leicester, it added.

Jessops became the first High Street casualty of 2013, after a raft of firms fell into administration in 2012, including Comet and Clinton Cards.

PwC was appointed administrator on Wednesday, and at the time said there might be some store closures.

It came after talks this week between Jessops and its lender and suppliers broke down after a poor Christmas.

The camera chain was founded in Leicester in 1935 by Frank Jessop.

In recent years, it has been hit by increasing competition from supermarkets and internet retailers.

Rob Hunt, joint administrator at PwC, said it was an "extremely sad day for Jessops and its employees".

He added that the decision to shut down the business came after discussions with suppliers "around their support for ongoing trading", which was not forthcoming.

"The stock will be collected over the coming days and returned to a central warehouse. It will be returned to suppliers if they are entitled to it. As a consequence of the closure, Jessops is no longer able to accept returned product from customers," Mr Hunt said.

"We will continue to ensure that employees are paid as they assist us during the closure."

He told the BBC that the closure announcement was "a horrible end to a very intensive couple of days".

Nikisha Cantle had been employed in the Jessops store in Croydon, south London.

She told the BBC she now faced an uncertain future.

"It is going to be really hard," she said.

"I was unemployed before getting the job and I applied for 400 jobs all over London. I do photography, so hope to go down that avenue. But I'm very worried"

In 2009, Jessops managed to avoid administration by agreeing a debt for equity swap with its lender, HSBC, that saw it taken off the stock market.

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