Dragon entrepreneur Peter Jones has rescued the Jessops camera business.
He has acquired the company from the receivers for £4million. Five of the top city stores have already opened and he intends to open up to 30 more stores in the UK in April.
Peter believes he can make a success of the business which began trading with one shop run by Frank Jessop in Leicester in 1935. By the time the receivers took over there were 200 stores.
Already reopened is the Birmingham show-piece store in Union Street opposite House of Fraser, which resumed trading on Thursday 28 March. Many of the old staff were present when I visited on Friday 29. Peter is reported as saying:
“I believe Jessops is an iconic British brand which can lead the retail resurgence on Britain’s high streets, powered by new innovations and world-leading, expert staff.
“Image is everything, and even in the mobile and tablet era, there’s no substitute for a quality camera when it comes to taking the perfect picture.”
Let’s hope he is right and can make appropriate changes to give a high street shop where you can get advice about what you need instead of just buying off the shelf or on the Internet.
However, my first impressions on visiting the Birmingham the shop at 3pm on Friday 29 March were that nothing has changed – same layout, same demonstration items – same staff. At the time there was a staff to potential clients ratio of about 3 to 1! The print service had no explanatory leaflet and a number of the prices were incorrect or missing from the print samples.
I assume Peter has re-opened the shops unchanged as quickly as possible to avoid losing regular clients and to restart the business before it goes cold. Let’s hope he can soon revamp the shops otherwise he’ll lose a lot of money as did Jessops previous owners!
Click here to read more about Peter Jones’ aims and plans for Jessops on his website.