LONDON (Reuters) - Camera specialist Jessops called in administrators PwC on Wednesday, becoming Britain’s first high street casualty following a tough Christmas for retailers.
The group, which operates from 192 stores and has around 2,000 employees, has seen demand for its digital products come under pressure from the rising use of camera phones and online rivals.
Many British retailers have struggled recently as inflation, muted wages growth and government austerity measures squeeze household budgets.
PwC said Jessops core marketplace has seen a significant decline in 2012 and forecasts for 2013 indicate that this decline would continue.
Joint administrator Rob Hunt said the directors, investors and key suppliers have been in talks in recent days but to no avail.
“Trading in the stores is hoped to continue today but is critically dependent on these ongoing discussions,” he said. “However, in the current economic climate it is inevitable that there will be store closures.”
Jessops was not immediately available for comment.
In 2012 a raft of firms fell into administration, a form of protection from creditors, including British electricals group Comet, Clinton Cards, Game Group and JJB Sports.
Last year Jessops’ Chief Executive Trevor Moore left to join fellow high street struggler HMV and in 2009 the firm managed to avoid administration after securing a debt-for-equity swap with its lenders HSBC.
Reporting by Neil Maidment and Lorraine Turner; Editing by Anthony Barker and Mike Nesbit