While his normal role on Dragon’s Den involves handing out £10,000 for a new kind of biscuit or £15,000 for a sock that makes your feet smell like buttered toast, Peter Jones is hardly a muppet when it comes to investment. His sudden interest in defunct high street photography brand Jessops could see the old girl spring into life any second now. Quiet on set.
With a £5 million cheque in his hand, Peter Jones seems to have compared the market and is upping the stakes for the rights to be Britain’s best loved camera supplier.
‘Back in a flash’
This is the message that appeared on the front door of the 30 Jessops stores that this morning re-opened, it’s also the message that is still visible on the landing page of Jessops website.
So could Jessops be the first major high street brand to make a successful comeback or is this flash just a flash in the pan?
Back in January we reported on the shutters closing for Jessops as they headed in to administration with the loss of almost 1,500 jobs and the closure of 187 stores.
But, more importantly, the loss of one of the only national photography chain stores in the UK – following in the wake of the Jacobs collapse. After the demise of Jessops, there were plenty of companies interested in taking a slice of their market, but Peter Jones of Dragons den fame seems to have come out on top after buying the company, its website and all assets, from the administrators for £5 million.
Jones, who is now chief exec and chairman of Jessops is expected to invest a further £5 million in the business this year.
He feels that his unique experience and high-profile style will enable him to get to the Levi Roots of Jessops challenges and turn the business around.
He has downsized the company to just 30 stores with plans to open no more than an additional 20 stores in the UK. Jones is also putting more emphasis on having ‘online pricing within the stores’ to encourage people to visit the high street, knowing that they will be getting the best price possible.
So, with the new direction, new captain at the helm and a focus and vision for the future will Jessops once again become a household high street brand or is this just a last ditch attempt at reviving a lost brand?
Kitguru says: While Amazon is fantastic for making the final purchase when you know exactly what you want – there is a lot to be said for having a specialist local retailer, with stock on the shelves, who can give you the advice you need. Seven days a week. In KitGuru’s experience, ‘hands-on’ wins every time where the long lens is concerned.