The firm was forced into administration amid unremitting, ‘difficult trading conditions’, according to accountancy firm PKF which was appointed to act as administrator last Friday.

PKF spokesman Andy Konieczko said Jacobs, a family-run business whose roots stretch back to 1939, fell victim to a ‘high street pain’ made worse by
competition from online retailers and a drop in ‘discretionary spending’
among consumers.

‘There is no smoking gun,’ Konieczko told Amateur Photographer (AP).

It seems that the UK’s latest economic strife proved to be the final straw.

Jacobs bosses had hoped that ‘blue skies’ were on the way but,
instead, ‘the opposite happened and we’ve ended up in a double-dip
recession’, explained the PKF spokesman.

‘It was time to throw in the towel.’

Administrators have yet to outline the impact on individual stores and the chain’s 154 staff.

‘It is fair to say that some Jacobs stores have performed better than others… A small number haven’t performed as well as they could have done,’ said Konieczko.

PKF says the results of its review of the business are expected to be known by this time next week.

As at 4pm today, PKF had not received any expressions of interest from potential purchasers.

However, Konieczko said this was not surprising, given that today [Wednesday] is the first working day since Jacobs went into administration before the long Jubilee weekend.

He stressed that Jacobs would not have been put into administration if there had not been a realistic chance of finding a buyer.

In a worst case scenario a business is put into liquidation, he told AP.

• Meanwhile, Jessops has reported a 1.3% rise in like-for-like sales for the year to 1 January 2012. Overall, Jessops sales grew by 3%. More details will follow in due course