By Daniel Hunter

Jessops, the iconic UK photography retailer, has re-opened its doors today (Thursday) after a vote of confidence from Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Peter Jones CBE.

In a major comeback, Jones will launch six stores this Thursday, then up to 30 more throughout April, at the rate of one a day.

Leading from the front, he will take the helm and assume the role of Chairman and Chief executive. This follows a £4m investment in revitalising Jessops stores, with flagship outlets including Oxford Street and Birmingham, the largest photographic imaging store in Europe.

The move comes as a boost to British retail, and will create up to 500 jobs, with Jessops forecasting sales of over £80m in Year 1. That will give the retailer nearly 15% of the DSLR Camera market in the UK and place Jessops immediately back as a Top3 player in the market.

“Britain’s high street is fighting back - the facts show it, and I am giving my personal commitment to its resurgence by re-opening the doors of one of Britain’s most historic retailers," Peter Jones CBE commented.

“I’m taking the helm as Chairman and Chief Executive because I believe Jessops is an iconic British brand which can lead the retail resurgence on Britain’s high streets, powered by new innovations and world-leading, expert staff.

“Image is everything, and even in the mobile and tablet era, there’s no substitute for a quality camera when it comes to taking the perfect picture. Jessops’ hallmark expertise and customer service will now be available again to customers across the UK.

“I’m convinced the great British public will get behind Jessops and look forward to welcoming the first new customers through our doors on Thursday.”

New Jessops stores will feature:

Play Tables: Reconfigured stores to give an interactive experience where you can touch and feel the products, and try before you buy

The Jessops Academy: photography courses can be booked in every store, for all levels from amateur snappers to aspiring professionals

Collect@store: Greater integration with Jessops’ online offering, including a collect@store option for customers

Expert assistance: The most highly-trained sales assistants in Europe, many specially trained with the camera manufacturers

Europe’s biggest range: Widest range of the world’s leading imaging brands

Photo Printing: Offering a 25 minute express service as well as premium printing to canvas & posters within the hour

The Dragon’s backing for Jessops continues the upward trend for Britain’s retailers, following last week’s buyout of Blockbuster, and British Retail Consortium figures which showed shoppers are deserting out-of-town shopping centres to return to the high street, with a year-by-year increase of 2.7% in shoppers from February 2012.

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