SNR Denton in lead role as Jessops becomes latest high-street casualty

SNR Denton has been appointed as lead adviser on the administration of camera retailer Jessops, in the latest high-profile retail collapse amid tough times for high street businesses.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) was today (9 January) appointed as administrator of the company, which has 192 stores and around 2,000 employees across the UK.

PwC said that despite a growing online business and 2012 turnover of £236m, the company’s core marketplace had seen a significant decline in 2012 and forecasts for 2013 had indicated that this decline would continue.

The administrator said discussions in recent days between directors, funders and key suppliers had failed, adding that although talks with stakeholders could keep branches open, “in the current economic climate it is inevitable that there will be store closures”.

The SNR Denton team is being led by restructuring and insolvency dispute resolution partner Rachel Anthony, with support from real estates partner Jason Sheard and restructuring and insolvency senior associate Zoe Thirlwell. Banking partner Catherine Astruc is also set to take an advisory role for HSBC, Jessop’s main creditor.

Legacy Denton Wilde Sapte and Ashurst both advised on the 2007 restructuring of Jessops, which saw the company close 81 stores and make 550 redundancies despite securing a £66.5m debt facility with HSBC.

It is understood an Ashurst team led by restructuring partner Giles Boothman, as well as members of Jessops’ in-house legal team, will continue to provide advice to the company on related matters during the administration.