Around 2,000 jobs at camera chain Jessops are under threat after the group collapsed into administration.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been appointed to the group, which is Britain’s only specialist nationwide camera retailer, with nearly 200 stores.
It marks the first high-profile retail collapse of 2013 and comes soon after consumer electricals chain Comet hit the wall, sparking more than 6,000 job losses.
Jessops, which has its headquarters in Leicester, has suffered in recent years from online competition and the boom in camera phones, which has hit demand for digital cameras.
Administrator Rob Hunt said PwC was holding discussions with stakeholders to see if the business could be preserved.
“Trading in the stores is hoped to continue, but is critically dependent on these ongoing discussions. However, in the current economic climate, it is inevitable there will be store closures.”
PwC said the company’s core market had seen a “significant decline” in 2012 and its position had “deteriorated” in the run-up to Christmas, as a result of reducing confidence in UK retail.
Forecasts for 2013 indicated the decline would continue, PwC added.
PwC said extra funding was made available to the company, but Jessops did not generate the profits it had planned over Christmas.
Discussions to raise additional financial support for the company had been held over the last few days, but the directors had appointed administrators in light of “irreconcilable differences”.
PwC said Jessops was not in a position to honour customer vouchers at present, and it would also not accept returned goods.
Consumer rights group Which? said customers said claims could be made by writing to the administrators with proof of the vouchers, and if items bought on a credit card are worth more than £100 they can be refunded.
A Which? spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately there is no guarantee you will get the full value back, and a claim could take some time for the administrators to process.”