Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Dragon Peter Jones not likely to invest in Jessops' stores in Northern Ireland

Insiders say it is "unlikely" that Dragon's Den star Peter Jones will rescue any of the three Jessops stores in Northern Ireland after re-launching the troubled camera chain this week.

Two Jessops stores have opened in London's Oxford Street and Birmingham, with four others opening over the Easter weekend in Manchester, Aberdeen, High Wycombe and St Albans.

Up to 30 more Jessops stores are due to reopen in April, as part of a £4m investment.

Jessops called in administrators PwC in January, leading to the closure of all 187 Jessops stores and the loss of almost 1,500 jobs.

Later that month Mr Jones and other investors bought the brand and certain assets. The entrepreneur is the sole owner of the relaunched camera store chain.

The company has pledged to create 500 jobs with its relaunch – with the majority going to former Jessops staff who lost their jobs when the chain collapsed.

Mr Jones, who appears as an investor on the BBC TV series about entrepreneurs, will take the role of chief executive and chairman. The relaunched company is forecasting sales of at least £80m in its first year, which it said will give it 15% of the DSLR camera market in the UK.

However it is not thought that Jones has made any approach regarding Northern Ireland.

Just over 20 jobs were lost when branches in Belfast, Londonderry and Newry closed down.

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