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1.300 jobs to go as administrators close Jessops stores
DOZENS of Hampshire jobs are to go after administrators announced it was closing all Jessops camera shops beginning today.
Around 1,300 jobs at the stricken camera chain will go across the UK.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which was appointed to the group on Wednesday, said it would begin the process of shutting the 187-store network at the close of business today.
The administrators said further job losses are likely at the group's head office in Leicester.
Jessops is the first high-profile retail casualty of 2013, after suffering from online competition and a boom in camera phones in recent years, hitting demand for digital cameras.
Administrator Rob Hunt said PwC had held ''extensive discussions'' with suppliers, but it was apparent that Jessops could not continue to trade.
He said stock would be collected from the shops and taken to a warehouse, where it would be returned to suppliers.
As a result of the closure of the shops, Mr Hunt added that customers would not be able to return products.
Jessops was forced to call in the administrators this week after talks between the company and its lender and suppliers broke down after a poor Christmas of trading.
Jessops had struggled since 2007, when it underwent a major overhaul with a swathe of store closures.
It came close to collapse two years later before being rescued by its main lender HSBC in a controversial debt-for-equity swap that saw it taken off the stock market.
The camera giant's collapse comes after consumer electrical chain Comet hit the wall last year, sparking more than 6,000 job losses.
There was speculation that suppliers such as Canon were considering injecting cash into Jessops last year to help prop the business up, but no deal materialised.
The group last year also suffered the loss of its chief executive Trevor Moore, who left to head up HMV, as well as its chairman David Adams.
Martyn Everett was then appointed as chairman and Neil Old was promoted to lead the business as chief operating officer.
The firm began life in 1935 when Frank Jessop opened his first shop in Leicester.
Mr Hunt added that it was ''an extremely sad day for Jessops and its employees''.