Customers of Jessops in Worthing were left confused and angry outside the store, after it made a shock decision to shut its doors early for the final time.
The shop in Warwick Street decided to close just after 5pm, leaving people outside waiting to redeem gift vouchers which they may no longer be able to recover.
Administrators made an announcement this afternoon that today (Friday, January 11) would be the company’s final trading day, after talks to save the firm broke down.
More than 1,300 job losses across the country have now been confirmed, with remaining staff of around 700 thought to also be made redundant over the coming weeks.
The company, which was the only specialist national photographic retailer in the country, had faced increasingly-fierce competition from internet retailers.
Dismayed customer Ted Wixon, from Worthing, had gone to the store to redeem a voucher worth dozens of pounds, arriving just as the Worthing store closed early.
He said: “I am totally gutted about this. I’d been given a voucher after some poor service I’d had for processing my 35mm film. They’d sorted it out for me and I had forgiven them for that, but where will people go round here now for getting their film developed.”
Having been bailed out by HSBC, Jessops embarked on an ambitious programme of store revamping last year –which appears to have had little or no effect on its fortunes.
This comes despite launching new initiatives including offering photography lessons to reach out to a broader audience.
Administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers said that despite Jessops being a strong household name, it had failed to generate sufficient profits in 2012. The firm released a statement to say it was “sad” that a solution could not be found to save the company, but that immediate action had to be taken.
Jessops is the first retail casualty of 2013, following the demise of Comet, including its Worthing store at Teville Gate last month. The Herald approached the managers of the Worthing Jessops store, but they were unable to comment on its closure.
For more, read the next edition of the Worthing Herald (January 17)