16 October 2019 15:04
Mr Jones bought the chain, which has shops in Shrewsbury and Merry Hill, from administrators in 2013 after it collapsed under £81 million of debt. But since then, the firm, which has 46 shops, has not made a single profit, and losses have mounted in recent years. Last year alone, the business, which employs 500 people, reported a £13 million loss as rent costs increased to £4.7 million. Lease charges, which include rent on stores, increased from £4.4 million in 2017. Now Mr Jones is reportedly planning to seek a rescue deal, known as a company voluntary agreement (CVA) with its landlords and lenders.
This is an insolvency process that allows a business to reach an agreement with its creditors to pay off all or part of its debts. But sources close to Jessops said Mr Jones still saw a future in the business and would not say how many of the chain's stores were at risk of closure. Store managers were briefed on the plans on Wednesday morning. The chain is the latest high street brand to acknowledge tough trading conditions. Last year, big chains such as Toys R Us, Maplin and Poundworld went bust and vanished altogether. Others such as Homebase, Mothercare, Carpetright and New Look did restructuring deals with their landlords, closing hundreds of shops between them.