Entrepreneur Peter Jones, the new owner of Jessops, has confirmed plans to open up to 36 stores after giving them a u00a34 million makeover.

The planned revival of the 78-year-old retailer is expected to create up to 500 jobs, most to go to former employees of Jessops which hit the buffers in January and closed all of its 187 shops.

CLICK HERE TO READ INTERVIEW WITH PETER JONES

The first six stores, set to open over the Easter weekend, are based

at Oxford Street in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Aberdeen, High

Wycombe and St Albans.

Amateur Photographer (AP) understands that the Oxford Street and Birmingham outlets will open tomorrow (Thursday).

Declaring ‘I’m in’, the Dragons’ Den star

plans to open up to 30 more branches in April, at the rate of one per

day, meaning that almost a fifth of Jessops outlets could spring back to

life.

The total number of stores to be opened is unclear, as AP has been told it will be up to 36, but reports elsewhere suggest 30.

Jones, who will serve as the company’s CEO and chairman,

said: ‘Britain’s high street is fighting back – the facts show it – and I

am giving my personal commitment to its resurgence by reopening the

doors of one of Britain’s most historic retailers.’

He added: ‘I

am taking the helm as chairman and chief executive because 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.’

The news coincides with the revival of the Jessops website, which is due to go live tomorow.

Outlining

his business plan (with hints of a pitch plucked from the Dragons’ Den TV

programme in which he stars) Jones said the business is forecasting

sales of ‘over £80m in Year One’, and will give the retailer ‘nearly 15% of

the DSLR camera market in the UK’.

The multi-millionaire said he is ‘convinced’ the public will back the brand.

‘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,’ he said.

‘Jessops’ hallmark expertise and customer service will now be available again to customers across the UK.’

Jones’

plans have been buoyed by British Retail Consortium figures which show

that UK retail sales rose 2.7% in February, on a like-for-like basis, the

fastest since December 2009.

Many former customers and suppliers

were left out of pocket two months ago when administrators pulled the plug on a

business founded by Frank Jessop in 1935.

Visitors to the revamped stores can expect to see the return of Jessops Academy, but will be mindful that many lost pre-paid photography course fees when the chain went belly-up.

The ‘reconfigured’ stores will also feature ‘Play Tables’, designed to give customers an interactive experience with products.

Jones bought the Jessops name and website for £1.4 million.

The amount paid for the stores has not been disclosed.

Jones – who is the 100% owner of Jessops – already operates a

technology products website that sells cameras, called Expansys.

Amateur

Photographer
magazine recently put Jones in touch with Alan Jessop, the retired son

of the chain’s founder, following a request from the office of the

Buckinghamshire-based businessman.

Figures released by the CBI, yesterday, show that UK retail sales flattened in March, in volume terms.

The CBI’s data – drawn from a survey of 118 firms that included 69

retailers – adds that retailers predict demand to pick up in April.

  • David Pursey

    I hope Inverness is going to be reopened.

  • Ivor Williams

    This is great news. I particularly miss their photo printing service that I used frequently, very quick turnround and excellent quality. Very friendly staff who would enthusiastically talk about all their kit. Please, please re-open in Bristol. Anyway God bless you Mr. Jones for rescuing a British high street icon!

  • Jeremy Hemming

    I question if Jessops was worth saving since the knowledge of the staff was poor and that takes years to build up

  • Ludovic

    ‘Jessops’ hallmark expertise and customer service will now be available again to customers across the UK.’
    Says Peter Jones.
    Obviously he never bought anything from the old Jessops where the shop assistants were less knowledgeable than your average photographer and sometimes seemed more interested to sell you extra insurance than the camera that would have suited you…
    Good luck to him anyway

  • Anthony Mckenzie

    Went to Jessop Oxford Street on its open day, to get advice on Canon 5D 111 , the staff were great and up for the fight back. great to have real information on equipment an not just given the box in a bag!

  • Brian Woolgar

    So very glad to see Peter Jones taking the steps to revive Jessops. I was a regular in the Poole store and would be delighted if that was one of those to be reborn.

  • Bernard Roughton

    So, can we now use our gift vouchers?

  • Chris.Nation

    I wish Peter Jones all the luck that’s going. As an on-line trader already, he must know that his biggest problem is offering something that tempts people to buy in the shop after they try, rather than going home and buying on-line, having had their shortlist demoed by a friendly human being.

  • AALaAron

    Brilliant news, and I am so please that he is not simply asset-stripping the company!

    aalaaron.info