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Camera chain Jessops shuts all its stores

A camera. Picture posed by model
A camera. Picture posed by model

by business editor Trevor Sturgess

The collapsed photography chain Jessops is to close all its stores - including six in Kent.

The administrator says it's apparent the retailer can't continue to trade, and all 187 branches will be shut for good this evening.

That will mean the loss of 37 jobs across the county.

PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed administrator.

The UK's only nationwide specialist camera chain has around 200 outlets - including Ashford, Bluewater, two in Canterbury, Tonbridge and Maidstone - and employs around 2,000 people.

Like Comet, the electrical giant that went out of business before Christmas with the loss of 6,000 jobs, Jessops has faced stiff online competition.

Sales of conventional cameras have also been hit by the boom in mobile camera phones.

The chain has been in financial trouble for some time. In 2009, HSBC rescued the ailing business by taking a 50% stake in exchange for writing off debts of more than £30 million.

Frank Jessop opened his first shop in 1935 in Leicester where the Jessop Group is still based.

Rob Hunt, joint administrator for PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: "This is an extremely sad day for Jessops and its employees."

Stock will be returned to a central warehouse rather than going on a sale, but returns will no longer be accepted from customers. 

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