Peter Jones paid £5m for the Jessops brand after the 189 store chain closed in January [see earlier story
] and has already reopened in London and Birmingham.
The re-launched company is forecasting sales of at least £80m in its first year and it will create 500 jobs with the majority going to former Jessops staff.
Peter Jones said, "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."
Ironically Jessops wasn’t such a bad business by the time it closed. Although it was known for its high street stores it actually generated 40% of its sales online and in-store staff were recognised for their superior product knowledge and customer service.
Its main problem was the size of the store network. Like many chains it expanded during the boom years only to face an onerous obligation to service multiple leases in the bad years. Peter Jones intends to avoid this by cherry-picking prime locations and also taking advantage of the retail downturn to negotiate better terms. He can also save on administration expenses by merging Jessops’ back office with his many other businesses.
The new company also intends to tackle the problem that Jessops faced of being caught between two stools; professional photographers buy their kit cheaper online and punters on the high street have a perfectly good camera in their phone. He intends to guarantee online prices will match the competition and investment in the stores will see them become as slick as Apple stores.
The jury is still out about whether it will be a success but the chances are probably in Peter Jones’ favour.