Shutters come down on camera shop

First published in News

CAMERA shop Jessops has become the first high-profile retail casualty of 2013, with all 187 branches closing, including Bolton.

On Friday, administrators announced the closure of all the stricken camera chain’s shops, with the loss of 1,370 jobs.

A sign in the window of Jessops in Newport Street, which employed three staff, advised customers that it had closed and to visit the website.

Online trading has also ceased and customers will not be able to use gift cards or vouchers.

The store in Mill Gate shopping centre, Bury, has also closed.

Saleema Khatun, who volunteers in the Scope charity shop next door to Jessops, said: “A lot of places are closing.

“It’s not nice. It doesn’t make you want to come into the town centre.”

Chris Webb, from independent photographic store Mathers of Lancashire, in Market Street, said: “It’s a sad day for the whole industry.

“They did a lot of good work promoting photography, which was good for everyone.”

The closure of Jessops comes 18 months after Wildings camera store, Deansgate, went out of business.

The chain is the latest well-known retailer to experience problems caused by the rise of online shopping, changing technology trend and the economic slump.

A boom in camera phones in recent years has hit demand for digital cameras and Jessops was forced to call in administrators after talks between the company and its lender and suppliers broke down following a poor Christmas of trading.

Jessops began life in 1935 in Leicester. It had been struggling since 2007, when there was a swathe of store closures, including the one at Middlebrook.

Administrator Rob Hunt said PricewaterhouseCoopers had held “extensive discussions” with suppliers.

He said stock would be collected and returned to suppliers.

Mr Hunt added that customers would not be able to return products, and said it was “an extremely sad day for Jessops and its employees”.

The camera giant’s collapse comes after consumer electricals chain Comet hit the wall last year, sparking more than 6,000 job losses, including 60 at Bolton’s Trinity Retail Park and Middlebrook.

A Jessops helpline can be contacted on 01132 894422.

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