A man was left with an unusable £500 Jessops voucher after making a failed last-minute attempt to spend it before the camera chain closed down today.
Sergio Tallon, who was given the voucher by his girlfriend, told ITV News he had been "running around London" trying to find a store that was open.
He narrowly missed out on being able to spend the voucher after shops closed early following the firm's administration.
Jessops administrator Pricewaterhouse Cooper said it held "extensive discussions" with suppliers, but it was apparent that the camera chain could not continue to trade.
PwC's Rob Hunt said stock would be collected from the shops and taken to a warehouse, where it would be returned to suppliers.
As a result of the closure of the shops, Hunt added that customers would not be able to return products.
ITV News has spoken to Sergio Tallon, a Jessops customer who can't reclaim a £500 voucher as he got to the store just as the shutters were coming down.
Customers and former employees of the failed camera chain Jessops have taken to Twitter to lament the closure of the retailer:
Can't believe #Jessops is to close.. Was a good place to work.. My first retail job when I was 16.. Feel sorry for friends losing jobs..
Goodbye to #Jessops I understand why trading is tricky with mobile phone cameras and online stores, but they've served me well each time
Very sad about #Jessops closure tonight. They have looked after me well over the years, always has great customer service. Such a shame.
Administrators are to close all of the failed camera chain Jessops' stores, with the loss of 1,377 jobs across the UK and Ireland. The majority of the job losses will be in the Midlands and London. The regional breakdown is as follows:
- East: 175
- South East: 131
- South West: 174
- North East: 106
- North West: 113
- Ireland: 30
- Scotland: 96
- Wales: 32
- Midlands: 230
- London: 290
Louise Cooper, financial expert spoke to ITV Daybreak about the issues that specialist retailers face.
She said that retailer Jessops has suffered from the smart phone camera, and that an online offering could be a way for it to move ahead.
Consumer rights group Which? said customers need to be aware of their rights as it emerged that people with Jessops gift vouchers may not be able to use them. A spokesman for Which? gave this advice:
- Write to the administrators (Price Waterhouse Cooper) with proof of your vouchers. There is no guarantee that you will get the full value back, and a claim could take some time to process.
- If you have bought an extended warranty, check the small print carefully. Often it is provided by a third party in which case you shouldn't be affected.
- If you've bought items costing more than £100 on a credit card and the supplier goes bust, you can claim a refund by writing to the credit company.
– Linda Willis
[I'm] very sorry to hear that. My ex-husband and my son have spent a lot of money in Jessops over the years. So have I! But as others have said, online sales have brought a more reasonable price when people are strapped for cash.
– Chris Ingall
It doesn't surprise me. My local Jessops is always empty and as a keen amateur photographer I noticed some of their equipment could easily be bought elsewhere sometimes at a third of the price ...
– Fanny Allen
In our small town, we have so many charity shops, banks, a 99p store, cash loan shops. [It's] pathetic really.
A statement from Jessops' administrators Price Waterhouse Cooper describes the reasons for the chain's financial troubles:
– price waterhouse cooper
Its core marketplace has seen a significant decline in 2012 and forecasts for 2013 indicate that this decline would continue.
In addition, the position deteriorated in the run up to Christmas as a result of reducing confidence in UK retail.
Despite additional funding being made available to the company by the funders, this has meant that Jessops has not generated the profits it had planned with a consequent impact on its funding needs.
This was exacerbated by a credit squeeze in the supplier base.