THE Jessops camera shop in Huddersfield suddenly shut down last night.
The move came as it was announced that all the Jessops stores were closing countrywide – including 15 in Yorkshire and the North East leading to 106 redundancies in the region.
A member of the staff at the Huddersfield shop on Queen Street said one staff member had worked there for 35 years.
He added: “We knew nothing at all about this until this week. It has come completely out of the blue.”
PwC were appointed joint administrators of Jessops on January 9.
Joint administrator Rob Hunt from PwC said yesterday: “Since my appointment we have reviewed the position of the business and held extensive discussions with suppliers around their support for ongoing trading.
“It is apparent that we cannot continue to trade and as a result we have had to make the difficult decision to begin the closure of all 187 Jessops stores at the close of business today.
“Regrettably, this will result in around 1,370 job losses across the stores with further job losses likely, in due course, at the head office in Leicester.
“The stock will be collected over the coming days and returned to a central warehouse.
“It will be returned to suppliers if they are entitled to it.
“As a consequence of the closure, Jessops is no longer able to accept returned products from customers.
“This is an extremely sad day for Jessops and its employees.”
Jessops was forced to call in the administrators this week after talks between the company and its lender and suppliers broke down after a poor Christmas of trading.
Jessops had struggled since 2007 when it underwent a major overhaul with a swathe of store closures.
It came close to collapse two years later before being rescued by its main lender, HSBC, in a controversial debt-for-equity swap that saw it taken off the stock market.
The camera giant’s final collapse comes after consumer electricals chain Comet hit the wall last year, sparking more than 6,000 job losses.
There was speculation that suppliers such as Canon were considering injecting cash into Jessops last year to help prop the business up, but no deal materialised.
The group last year also suffered the loss of its chief executive Trevor Moore, who left to head up HMV, as well as its chairman David Adams.
Martyn Everett was then appointed as chairman and Neil Old was promoted to lead the business as chief operating officer.
The firm began life in 1935 when Frank Jessop opened his first shop in Leicester.
Updates for customers will be available through the Jessops and PwC websites shortly at www.pwc.co.uk/jessops