HSBC is understood to have placed a chief restructuring officer at Jessops as the downturn continues to take its toll on the camera specialist.

Specialist retail consultant Alan Fort has been installed ahead of Jessops’ shareholders meeting next week. Fort was previously chief executive of defunct furniture retailer Courts and a director of Neal’s Yard and Celebrations Group.

According to The Independent, Jessops is battling under debts of nearly£60m. It made a pre-tax loss of£50.2m for the year to September 30, 2008.

Last week Jessops said its meeting next week had been convened for the purposes of considering “whether any – and if so what – steps should be taken to deal with the situation in regards to the fact that the net assets of the company are less than half of its called-up share capital”.

Jessops is understood to be considering a debt for equity swap with HSBC. The bank already holds Jessops warrants, which give HSBC the right to buy 15 per cent of the retailer’s shares.