JOBS are at risk at local branches of the camera chain Jessops after the group went into administration.

The future of 2,000 staff nationwide is in doubt after administrators said branch closures were “inevitable”.

And administrators have said stores will not be accepting gift vouchers or returned goods while talks go on in a bid to save the business.

The company has branches at Bournemouth’s Castlepoint and Poole’s Dolphin Centre. It closed a branch in central Bournemouth in 2012.

The Poole branch has been open for 24 years.

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.

A statement from PwC said: "Jessops is a major high- street retailer of photographic equipment and growing online business. Turnover in the year to December 31 2012 was £236million and Jessops operated from 192 stores with around 2000 employees throughout the UK. It has a well-known brand, strong reputation for service and a significant national footprint.

"However, its core marketplace has seen a significant decline in 2012 and forecasts for 2013 indicate that this decline would continue. In addition, the position deteriorated in the run-up to Christmas as a result of reducing confidence in UK retail. Despite additional funding being made available to the company by the funders, this has meant that Jessops has not generated the profits it had planned with a consequent impact on its funding needs. This was exacerbated by a credit squeeze in the supplier base."

Rob Hunt, joint administrator and partner, PwC said: “Over the last few days the directors, funders and key suppliers have been in discussions as regards additional consensual financial support for the business. However these discussions have not been successful. In light of these irreconcilable differences the directors decided to appoint administrators and we were appointed earlier today (Wednesday).

“Our most pressing task is to review the company's financial position and hold discussions with its principal stakeholders to see if the business can be preserved. Trading in the stores is hoped to continue today but is critically dependent on these ongoing discussions. However, in the current economic climate it is inevitable that there will be store closures.”

The statement added: "At present Jessops is not in a position to honour customer vouchers or to accept returned goods."