Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones puts Jessops in frame for sale | Business News

Peter Jones poses in the reopened Jessops photography shop on Oxford Street

The Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones is weighing a sale of Jessops, the excessive avenue digital camera chain, after weeks of talks with landlords a couple of restructuring settlement failed to provide a deal.

Sky Information understands that Mr Jones is holding talks with potential patrons of Jessops amid torrid buying and selling circumstances on Britain’s excessive streets.

The discussions with unnamed patrons are mentioned to be at an early stage, and stay solely one of many choices being examined by the chain’s board.

“It is now being checked out, but it surely’s removed from sure,” mentioned one supply.

Peter Jones poses in the reopened Jessops photography shop on Oxford Street
Peter Jones has owned Jessops since 2013, when it emerged from a earlier spell in insolvency

Information of the potential sale comes six weeks after Mr Jones filed a discover of intention to nominate directors to JR Prop Restricted, which manages Jessops’ leasehold shops.

That discover was subsequently prolonged amid efforts to influence landlords to help a Firm Voluntary Association (CVA), a consensual restructuring deal that may have led to some retailer closures and hire cuts.

Insiders mentioned {that a} sale could possibly be structured as a pre-pack administration, though it was unclear on Wednesday whether or not the enterprise might survive on a standalone foundation with out new monetary help.

Resolve, an advisory agency, had been lined up because the administrator to JR Prop and will oversee the same course of at Jessops’ retail enterprise to expedite a sale.

Mr Jones, who has loved an extended stint as one of many “dragons” on the BBC enterprise present, has owned Jessops since 2013, when it emerged from a earlier spell in insolvency.

Jessops employs about 500 folks in complete.

Mr Jones has backed corporations throughout a spread of sectors, each by means of Dragons’ Den and independently, and has held stakes in companies together with Pink Letter Days, Levi Roots and Bladez Toys.

Sources near Mr Jones mentioned that since 2013, he had invested considerably in Jessops, together with £5m in 2019 alone.

A evaluate of Jessops’ enterprise in current months is known to have led to a extra complete understanding of the monetary efficiency of its retailer property, insiders mentioned.

Powerful buying and selling circumstances, excessive hire prices and taxes corresponding to enterprise charges have conspired to depart scores of shops struggling to salvage their futures lately.

Earlier this yr, Debenhams’ father or mother firm was compelled into administration, though its shops proceed to commerce, whereas Sir Philip Inexperienced’s excessive avenue empire, Arcadia, has additionally limped on following a fierce battle with landlords.

Jack Wills, HMV and Karen Millen are among the many different distinguished retailers which have turned to insolvency processes in an effort to outlive in 2019.

Retailers have pleaded with the federal government for pressing reform of VAT, enterprise charges and the introduction of an internet tax which might search to degree the taking part in area for top avenue chains.

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