EXCLUSIVE: Jessops made a loss of £2.1m for the 15 months to 30 April 2014, owing to the ‘significant investment necessary to re-establish a nationwide retail business,’ newly released accounts show. However, Jessops notched up an operating profit of £1.8m in the six months to 30 April 2014, on sales of £33m.

The branch in Oxford Street, London, on the day it opened in March 2013 under Jessops’ new owner Peter Jones

Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Peter Jones took over Jessops on 1 February 2013, establishing the name ‘Jessops (Group) Limited’ on 27 March 2013. Trading started on 28 March 2013.

As reported earlier this month, Jessops made an operating profit of £282,293 for the year to 30 April. This related to the period after Jessops opened its first high-street branch (pictured above) and website under its new owner. The results beat Jessops’ original ‘break even’ forecast for the year, according to Jones.

Profits made in the second half of the year to 30 April offset the loss from the first six months, when Jessops embarked on its phased-store opening programme.

In his chairman’s statement, accompanying accounts released exclusively to Amateur Photographer, Jones said: ‘After the tremendous efforts of everyone involved, I am delighted with the period’s performance and am looking forward with real optimism.’.

Jessops plans to open six new stores by Christmas and recently announced a tie-up with supermarket chain Sainsbury’s.

Jones said he is ‘extremely pleased to report that Jessops is back in business’.

He added: ‘I have been passionate since day one about working with the team to find new ways to revitalise the business and it has been an incredible journey for everyone involved who’ve worked tirelessly since January 2013 to help restore an iconic British brand.

‘Even in the last 12 months the market has continued to evolve and develop at an incredible pace.

‘The traditional entry-price “point and click” camera continues to decline as a result of the growing popularity of the smartphone which has, in turn, led to high-end DSLRs and mirrorless cameras taking an ever-increasing share of the UK imaging market.’

Jones pointed out that ‘capturing images has never been more popular’, adding that ‘our insight tells us that many of the customers that are new to photography first “caught the bug” when capturing and editing using their smartphone’.

The accounts show that Jones made an interest-free loan of £4.3m to the business – a figure included in the creditors list.

Staff costs amounted to nearly £6m, while lease expenses exceeded £2.2m for the period.

Turnover for the 15 months stood at £57.9m, during which Jessops had a £2.5m bank loan, repayable on 7 October 2015.