Deathwatch - Jessops lose focus with £60 million debts
In days gone by, the humble camera shop represented a veritable Aladdin's cave of curiosity and intimidation. Now, it serves only to allow online buyers to test-drive equipment before they buy it off eBay, while everybody else heads to PC World to buy something with more pixels than necessary to photograph their pissed-up mates on a hen night.
This shift in business is not lost on those behind the counter. Camera firm Jessops, which has over 200 stores across the North of England has announced the likelihood of job losses and the need for a "fundamental restructuring" of its debt, which currently adds up to £60 million. Because of their historic high level of debt, it's thought that no value will be attributed to shareholders. Ooops.
The UK's largest photographic retailer reported half-year losses of over £6 million for the six months to the end of March, with sales were down four per cent; that follows full-year losses of almost £50 million at the beginning of February, despite closing over 80 stores in 2007. The company has refused to comment further on any expected redundancies. We'll let you know how the story develops.