Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones Jessops becomes latest street bloodbath victim

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Dragon's Den star Peter Jones Jessops becomes latest street bloodbath victim


Jessops, the Peter Jones-owned camera retailer of Dragons’ Den, has filed a director appointment notice after being severely affected by the lockdown restrictions.

The company, acquired by Mr. Jones’s PJ Investment Group in 2013, currently employs 120 people and operates 17 stores.

He hired FRP insolvency specialists and said he is now considering a process of restructuring the Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) in an effort to protect its long-term future.

All Jessops stores, including its flagship locations in Birmingham and London’s Oxford Street, are currently closed until April 12 due to the forced shutdown of non-essential stores.

The latest bad news for Britain’s main streets comes two days after John Lewis announced the closure of eight of his stores.

MPs said the move was “devastating” to the future of Main Street, while business leaders admitted they were “upset” by a decision that put more than 1,400 jobs at risk.

Jessops, the Peter Jones-owned camera retailer of Dragons’ Den, filed a director appointment notice after being severely affected by lockdown restrictions

Jessops said he had appointed advisers to look at how he could “develop a new strategy that will allow the company to continue to be competitive” despite the unrest on the streets.

A company spokesperson said: “Without question, this will include the continued growth of Jessops ‘digital offering, as well as the ability to partner with other retailers to maintain Jessops’ presence. in the main streets.

Retail bloodbath: How the pandemic changed Britain’s high street

Main Street has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic as people have been urged to stay indoors during several nationwide lockdowns.

High Street mainstays such as Debenhams, WH Smith and Clarks did not escape the bloodbath.

In August, 228-year-old company WH Smith said a dramatic drop in sales could force them to lay off about 11 percent of its workforce.

It was a sinister ad for a main street already hammered after Hundreds of jobs were also cut at fashion chain M & Co.

The chain also announced the closure of 47 stores, bringing the number of workers laid off as a result of the Covid crisis to more than 100,000.

In one week over the summer, 651 positions were lost in Byron, 1,700 endangered at DW Sports, 878 lost at Hays Travel and 1,100 endangered at Pizza Express.

John Lewis cut 1,500 more jobs, on top of the 1,300 cut when eight stores closed permanently in July.

The retail giant was widely regarded as a benchmark for UK High Street performance.

Lloyds Bank also announced its decision to lay off 1,070 additional employees in addition to the 865 employees earlier in the pandemic.

Within the same 24 hours, Marks & Spencer also reported its first loss in 94 years as a listed company. The company had already cut 8,000 employees since March.

And Sainsbury’s also confirmed it would cut around 3,500 jobs at its Argos stores and supermarket meat, fish and deli counters, while Clarks shoes would warn the jobs of 4,000 employees at its store as part of the job. of his struggle for survival.

“We are working closely with key vendors and partners to agree a way forward and PJ Investment Group has confirmed that it is ready to provide additional funding if a suitable deal can be reached to sustain Jessops in the next stage of its development. “

FRP Partner Geoff Rowley said: “Jessops is a long-established UK brand, but like many others, it has faced increasing competition online, as well as the challenges all pandemic retailers face.

“We are working closely with PJ Investment Group and the management team at Jessops as a whole to consider all options to secure a future for the retailer.”

It comes less than two years after a major restructuring of the chain, which reduced its store base by 46 sites in order to preserve its future.

A spokesperson for PJ Investment Group said: “Since 2013, we have worked hard to support the Jessops brand and have restored the company to profitability in recent years through a complete restructuring and significant investments.

“However, the retail landscape has continued to change rapidly, and this process has been accelerated by the impact of the pandemic on the streets.

“Over the past twelve months, we have worked closely with Jessops management and helped them take action to manage costs throughout the pandemic and have focused on serving Jessops customers through our online store.

Mr Jones has been a star of the BBC’s Dragon’s Den program since its launch in 2005 and is the show’s only original investor remaining.

On Thursday, 157-year-old retail giant John Lewis announced it would close four department stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York, and four more At Home stores in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells.

Five of these stores have been opened since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, while the other three are large department stores that have been at the heart of three major cities – Aberdeen, Peterborough and Sheffield – for many decades.

In January, the John Lewis partnership recorded its first-ever pre-tax loss of £ 517million during the pandemic, after announcing the closure of eight stores, including its flagship site at Grand Central, Birmingham.

These cities now face an epic struggle to fill the gaping hole John Lewis left in their communities, on their main streets and in their labor markets.

In Peterborough, the 125,000 square foot store at Queensgate Shopping Center – which opened in 1982 and is part of a complex owned by Invesco Retail Estate – was the largest closure announced yesterday by the John Lewis Partnership.

The company, acquired by Mr. Jones's PJ Investment Group in 2013, currently employs 120 people and operates 17 stores.

The company, acquired by Mr. Jones’s PJ Investment Group in 2013, currently employs 120 people and operates 17 stores.

Mr Jones has been a star of the BBC's Dragon's Den program since its launch in 2005 and is the show's only remaining original investor.

Mr Jones has been a star of the BBC’s Dragon’s Den program since its launch in 2005 and is the show’s only remaining original investor.

Shabina Qayyum, member of Peterborough City Council’s Shadow Investment Cabinet, said: “This is devastating news not only for the hundreds of employees, but also for the heart of retail in Peterborough. This is clearly a turning point for the retail industry.

Paul Bristow, the Conservative MP for Peterborough, said he had urged Dame Sharon White, president of John Lewis, not to close the store.

“I am extremely disappointed with this decision,” he told the Peterborough Telegraph. “Lady Sharon called me this morning, shortly after the staff was notified.

“I asked her how she could justify this closure given the company’s investment in the store and the opportunities in our city.

In Aberdeen, the 102,000 square foot store that opened in 1989 has played a major role in the city’s £ 150million regeneration plans. Now the nearest store for locals is 127 km away in Edinburgh, while an alternative to Waitrose can be found in Stirling, 120 km away.

The latest bad news for Britain's main streets comes two days after John Lewis announced the closure of eight of his stores

The latest bad news for Britain’s main streets comes two days after John Lewis announced the closure of eight of his stores

Adrian Watson, managing director of Aberdeen Inspired, the business improvement district, said of the decision to close the store: “I’m a little shocked. “

He told The Times that the plans would have to be drastically reworked, adding: “People were traveling long distances through the Highlands and the North East to come to John Lewis, it brought people into the city.

“It will be a huge challenge for the city center. “

The British Retail Consortium has warned that “with footfall having already dropped significantly over the past year, even outside of the lockdown, independent stores and consumers will feel the loss of these large retail stores”.

Dr Amna Khan, senior lecturer in consumer behavior and retail at Manchester Metropolitan Business School, today warned that the closure of several major John Lewis sites would have a ‘domino effect’ on others. companies.

Last week the government unveiled a £ 56million fund to help Britain’s struggling shopping streets.

The money is intended to beautify malls and to finance beer and food festivals.

Up to 9,000 more pubs are expected to open to restaurant patrons on April 12, as the reduction in red tape will allow businesses to build marquees in the gardens and have tables on the streets of England.

A particular focus will be on the seaside towns, which will receive £ 6million from the funding pot.

Councils can use this money to “spruce up” their main streets with flower boxes, green space improvements and graffiti removal.

Unauthorized parking companies will also be addressed to make it easier for shoppers to access city centers.

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