U.K. retailer Jessops back in administration for the third time

Jessops retail store

Troubled British photo retailer Jessops, has filed for administration again, following the severe business disruption caused by the lockdown restrictions imposed to combat the COVID pandemic, according to the BBC. The filing is the third for Jessops, which is down to 17 stores and 120 employees all at risk. It has hired an insolvency specialist and is now exploring a Company’s Voluntary Arrangement restructure to protect the business. The chain is currently owned by Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Peter Jones, who bought Jessops in 2013 after its first filing. According to published reports, the retailer has been unprofitable since then.

Jessops filed for administration again in October, 2019, closing half its store and laying off hundreds of workers.

“We have filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators with a view to consider a CVA (company voluntary arrangement) process in order to protect the business for our staff, our partners and creditors as we look to carve out a new strategy that will enable the business to continue to compete,” a company spokesperson told City A.M. “No doubt, that will include further growing Jessops’ digital offering, as well as considering the opportunities to partner with other retailers to continue Jessops’ high street presence.

“We are working closely with key suppliers and partners to agree a way forward and PJ Investment Group (Jones’ company) have confirmed that they stand ready to provide additional funding if a suitable agreement can be reached on sustainably supporting Jessops in the next stage of its development.”

According to the BBC, a CVA is a tool used to renegotiate rents, where a retailer’s landlords would have to accept a percentage of a shop’s revenue for their rent, instead of relying on a fixed lease.

Founded in 1935 by Frank Jessop, the business was family-run until 1996 and had 315 stores at its peak.