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UK's biggest high-street camera store enters administration

By dpreview staff on Jan 9, 2013 at 18:37 GMT

The UK's biggest high-street camera retailer, Jessops, has gone into administration, putting 192 stores and 2,000 jobs at risk. The company's website is not accepting orders and administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers has said vouchers and returns would not be honoured at present. The company, that has been slow to respond to competition from internet retailers, was rescued in 2009 by HSBC, which bought into the company in return for writing off some of its debts. However, increasingly stringent credit terms imposed by suppliers (a common move when there is doubt surrounding the future of a company), and predictions of further falls in camera sales led to the administrators being called.

The move follows the collapse of the country's largest independent photographic chain, Jacobs, in June 2012.


PricewaterhouseCoopers Press Release:

The Jessop Group Limited – in administration (“Jessops or the Company”)

Edward Williams, Rob Hunt and Matthew Hammond of PwC were appointed joint administrators of The Jessop Group Limited on 9 January 2013.

Jessops is a major high- street retailer of photographic equipment and growing on line business. Turnover in the year to 31 December 2012 was £236m 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.

“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.”

Finally, at present Jessops is not in a position to honour customer vouchers or to accept returned goods.

Comments

Total comments: 234
123
photorick1974
By photorick1974 (Jan 21, 2013)

That's too bad. I used to shop there when I lived in Wolverhampton in 1996. Good shop and the staff was always helpful. Hopefully they'll come out of this, we need to have brick and mortar in this industry.

0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (Jan 17, 2013)

HERE'S SOME GOOD NEWS FOR JESSOPS CUSTOMERS HAVING ISSUES WITH WARRANTY RETURNS AS A RESULT OF JESSOP'S COLLAPSE: http://www.calumetphoto.co.uk/eng/pages/futurephotoretail.cfm?t=CM02&a=CM02&cal

And it should be noted that the company that posted that announcement, Calumet, are FAAAAAAAAAAAAR better than Jessops were in recent years and offer the kind of service and expertise that Jessops once offered say 12 years ago.

DECLARATION: I am an extremely impressed and satisfied customer of Calumet (so impressed and satisfied in fact that I have vowed to buy any new Canon cam from them even if it's cheaper elsewhere (because the no quibble service I received from them in respect of a faulty used item I bought from them was just wonderful))

0 upvotes
how123
By how123 (Jan 16, 2013)

the sad thing for me ,was when the jessop family sold the company the people who then bought it didnt offer the same service prices seemed to rise the quality of advice dropped ,the amount of jessops own brand items dropped every time you went in to a shop, like for like items would be more than a competitor would sell for ie a canon 60mm macro lens was about £40 more at jessops in the last few years they did become more competative ,but to little to late

0 upvotes
EasyClick
By EasyClick (Jan 13, 2013)

For me it was their return policy. On amazon and even John Lewis you could return the package after opening it and using a camera. They would take the product back no questions asked. At Jessops, it wasn't so. If you broke the seal, it was nearly impossible to get a refund unless there was a manufacture problem. That alone lost me as their customer.

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
biggestelk
By biggestelk (Jan 13, 2013)

Had you made the correct choice with the help of the staff, you wouldn't have had to return an item anyway. The item you subsequently returned would then have to be sold as second-hand or ex-demo, cutting the profit that was made in the first place. You have no legal right to return something if you don't like it. I work in a small camera shop (there are a few of us left) and this sort of customer activity only weakens what little profit we do make, so we do not offer returns unless faulty. Just because all the big companies who can afford to accept an unwanted item back doesn't mean customers should expect it everywhere. With this attitude, no wonder the high street is getting more barren on a daily basis!

6 upvotes
Hoodster
By Hoodster (Jan 13, 2013)

Hear hear!

0 upvotes
sansbury
By sansbury (Jan 13, 2013)

@Biggestelk "Just because all the big companies who can afford to accept an unwanted item back doesn't mean customers should expect it everywhere. With this attitude, no wonder the high street is getting more barren on a daily basis!"

You've written your own epitaph right here. The 'net retailers are not only giving customers lower prices, they're giving them a valuable service you won't or can't. I prefer to support local retailers even at some price premium but not ones who fail to deliver value.

3 upvotes
EasyClick
By EasyClick (Jan 14, 2013)

@Biggestelk, Sorry but I don't agree entirely with what you're saying. There have been many occasions when what was promised or advertised was not what I was getting out of the camera. If I'm going to pay over 1k for a camera, I'd like to be able to test it and handle it for a few days instead of being pressured to buy just because some guy wants a commission. Also, the sale guy's opinion might differ from mine. I'm also happy to buy open boxed or used products. I think what small shops should offer is a chance to look at test photos on a monitor and examine the files. If you prized yourself to offer a better service than online, step up and actually do offer more than talk.

2 upvotes
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (Jan 14, 2013)

biggestelk I would suggest the shop you work in needs to read the Sales of Goods act again as your understanding of it is not correct:

Shops have a duty, under the Sale of Goods Act, to make sure that the product is:

as described

of satisfactory quality, and

fit for purpose – this means both their everyday purpose, and also any specific purpose that you agreed with the seller (for example, if you specifically asked for a printer that would be compatible with your computer).

If you buy a product that has a problem because of one of these reasons, you can choose to 'reject' it, return it and get your money back.

http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/sale-of-goods/returning-goods-your-legal-rights/your-rights/

If you sell a camera to someone and it is not suitable for what they intended and you said it would be they are entitled to a refund. Trading Standards/Consumer Direct would come into the shop and be all over you if you refused a refund.

0 upvotes
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (Jan 14, 2013)

Part 2 Biggestelk

This is the link to the Sales of Goods Act. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1979/54

EasyClick I totally agree with you on what you said about on your second post about a camera not doing what you were told it would do or be suitable for and the Sales of Goods Act protects you from this. I worked in the past in photographic retail management and was amazed by Biggestelk's post.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jan 16, 2013)

I worked in a small camera store and we had everything covered. What we couldn't offer in the way of price or easy returns we made up for with rude salespeople. This came from the top. The owner, a nasty chap who had lived very well through the golden (silver) era of photography was angry to see the gravy train leaving the station.

0 upvotes
57even
By 57even (Jan 20, 2013)

I think you will find that many large electronics retailers now will not accept returns that have been opened unless they are actually faulty or not as advertised. Certainly true of PC world.

0 upvotes
KonradDC
By KonradDC (Jan 13, 2013)

As most of the posters have already said, Jessops got too big with too many outlets. I did buy from them, but only if the price was right! I prefer Microglobe a small retailer who are very competitive and the staff know the products. I also preferred Jacobs who had very knowledgeable staff. To see two large camera stores that were based opposite each disappear is sad, but the sign of current times.
The last camera I bought was a Panasonic TZ30 from Comet - another major store that folded in December 2012. I bought that camera during their closing down sale at a cheap price, and still got the £35 cashback on top!
In the UK now, the only major UK retailer selling cameras is Currys/PC World. They were actually selling some cameras cheaper than Jessops!
Another problem is that most a lot of people use their mobile phone cameras as their only camera. This means that compact camera sales will/have suffered. Most use the pictures for social sites, so the convenience of uploading is there.

0 upvotes
zubs
By zubs (Jan 12, 2013)

Jessops in Leicester is local to me and its sad that a camera store is closing. Staff knowledgae and helpful. But they expanded too quickly by opening too many high st stores, if they concentrated on the internet sales and drove prices down they might still be here today. Good luck to all the staff.

0 upvotes
zvezdaphoto
By zvezdaphoto (Jan 11, 2013)

water under the bridge now I am afraid, jessops just did n't adapt with the times and forgot where their core business was. Photography has always been a buy and sell market (often even back in time, second hand deals were not good in reality compared to resale mark up). The manufactures know this, the technology on the shelf is already old befor it even gets there, supply and demand. you can have 2 million more pixels and a processor that works a little bit quicker every two years or so. It's more of a culture shift than anything else, and for as long as people want to buy into the dream, the longer it will continue.

0 upvotes
MP Burke
By MP Burke (Jan 11, 2013)

Both Jacobs and Jessops have now both disappeared from New Oxford Street in the space of a year and it's a shame, though I suspect many people used their shops to have a look at cameras, which were then bought online at a lower price.
It has to be remembered that Jessops had undergone a huge expansion, with most of the stores being opened in the past ten years.
In the early 1980's they had just two stores in Leicester and London with much of their business being done by mail order. Perhaps the company would have been in a better position to survive if it had fewer stores and concentrated on internet sales.

0 upvotes
S B McCue
By S B McCue (Jan 11, 2013)

New Oxford Street will not be the same without Jessops.

I agree with a number of posts ... this was bound to happen at some point. Over the past decade, Jessops had become just a shadow of what it once was. Back when the Routemasters still passed by on Route 38, you could often find a salesperson who knew his or her stuff and prices that were competitive.

I well remember the last time I visited that particular Jessops - back in September, 2011. I was looking for a particular mid-level compact and was told by a clueless counterperson that "we don't carry that one." There were four of the camera I wanted sitting on the shelf behind her, but that didn't seem to matter much.

I went across the street and bought it from Jacob's.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jan 11, 2013)

What surprises me is that people are now discovering there is very little money in cameras and lenses. This "profit erosion" was well underway long before online shopping. Then as now, some of this could be offset with accessories, consumables or items too heavy for free shipping, like enlargers. Even used equipment is tough because people want the lastest thing and are rightly wary of buying somebody else's problems, like a refurbed D800 for example. Rentals seem to be the only bright spot.

One could argue that sites like DPR have made it more difficult for the neighborhood camera shop since so much information is now available on line.

0 upvotes
zvezdaphoto
By zvezdaphoto (Jan 11, 2013)

Good luck everyone.

1 upvote
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (Jan 11, 2013)

If people have not heard yet Jessops closes today. All branches.

Administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers said all 187 stores in the UK would shut at the end of trading on Friday.

Their Facebook page has already been closed.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dave Oddie
By Dave Oddie (Jan 11, 2013)

I have bought stuff from Jessops over the years and the people I dealt with were fine. Every now and again they would be cheaper than other retailers for certain items. I remember when they started out as "Jessops of Leicester" well before they came to be a national operation.

Fortunately for me there are still two good camera shops in Chester where I live one of which supplied me with my current camera.

0 upvotes
zvezdaphoto
By zvezdaphoto (Jan 11, 2013)

Some very funny, sad, ignorant and the odd voice of reason on dpreview and a few other places in the media today about the fate of Jessops. Having worked for the company twice, the problems with the business model are plain for all who have any inside knowledge to see. It is a complex mixture of market place, changing times, consumer apathy and to be honest some plain bad management from the senior people (On a golf course near you). I don't want to lament the failure, but reading the comments from some people saying how they won't miss Jessops and good riddance etc ... has left me feeling somewhat cold and in an odd way a little bit angry.

1 upvote
zvezdaphoto
By zvezdaphoto (Jan 11, 2013)

I can say with complete honesty, that some of the people who I have worked with have been the most knowledgeable and dedicated to the subject of photography that I have met and had the pleasure to work with (You know who you are). I feel that you can hold your heads high and be proud of what you have done in retaining as much as possible the human aspect of dealing with the public and for inspiring the genuine customers who came to us for advice, despite the constant meddling by RBM's who have no knowledge of the products and care even less about the subject.

As with all institutions a need to move with the times is paramount to success, Jessops did become bloated with it's self importance as a company that cannot be denied, but, we did the best with what we had to work with.

So best wishes to everyone still there and I hope that something can be salvaged from the wreckage.

All the very best

2 upvotes
Scott Nicol
By Scott Nicol (Jan 11, 2013)

Message boards like this one (1) give people anonymity and (2) require people to be brief and / or generalise. I'm sure many of the people making the angrier / harsher comments would not be so callous as to seek out their nearby Jessops store and make those same statements to the face of staff who face a a very distressing period ahead of statutory redundancy and job seeking in a sector that has an increasingly bleak outlook. Yet here, from the comfort of their keyboard they feel free to do so and indeed are (rightly or wrongly) entitled to their opinions.

The flipside of this is that Jessops as a company wasn't a great chain and had many problems / faults (listed ad nauseum across the web in the last few days) and customers do, quite rightly, feel angry at the company for their own poor experiences and losses (e.g. lost deposits, vouchers, damaged goods that they can't return etc).

As you say, lets hope something can be salvaged from this mess for both the staff and customers sake.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
DaytonR
By DaytonR (Jan 13, 2013)

Whatever their "business model" was it surely didnt work judging by what has happened. What really gets me is that the management clearly would have seen this coming for some time........., this didnt just happen overnight. This then begs the question why didnt they adjust their business model long ago before things had come to this ? They should have spotted stores that werent making money and closed them down and maintained the ones that were profitable and then they should have agressively made their online presence felt and maybe, maybe the Jessops brand would still be alive......

0 upvotes
Nuno Souto
By Nuno Souto (Jan 11, 2013)

"increasingly stringent credit terms imposed by suppliers "
Of course! Hit them while they are down!...
Anyone surprised why retail is having problems?
Let's have more of it! Then the "suppliers" will know the real meaning of penny pinching...

0 upvotes
BaldCol
By BaldCol (Jan 11, 2013)

What do you expect suppliersto do? Just keep supplying even though they can see the company is in trouble? Dont try and blame suppliers for the failure of Jessops.

5 upvotes
mark power
By mark power (Jan 11, 2013)

As an American professional photographer who lived in the UK in 2000-4, I soon discovered my local Jessops in Norwich was quite mediocre with many of the faults outlined by other contrbutors to this dialogue. Sadly, it isn't much different here in Washington DC where I now live. The better camera stores have long since folded and the one decent one remaining (Penn Camera) barely avoided receivership itself. So for many years here and the Uk the internet is where it's at which means buying cameras sight unseen which so far has worked out thanks to sites like dpreview.

0 upvotes
redclanger
By redclanger (Jan 10, 2013)

Most of the current apparently successful camera retailers in the UK appear to be smallish local brick and mortar shops who have developed a strong online retail operation and through that have developed the volumes that allow them to undercut companies like Jessops who have a nationwide brick and mortar presence. I think if Jessop had pushed the online more then they may have been OK; statements like the girl who said 'I have a fantastic camera on my iPhone' does not help though - fanstastic for what, Facebook - that is probably all she needs it for

0 upvotes
al_in_philly
By al_in_philly (Jan 10, 2013)

A note from across the pond:

I've talked with managers of camera stores in the US and they all complain about the limited profit margin on camera sales. E-tailers have created a situation where only the latest, most sought after, cameras can command full retail prices. The discounting necessary for a brick and mortar camera store leaves little capital to pay for skilled, knoweldagable, staff AND pay the rent. Most profits come from items like bags and other accessories, where there is still a good mark up. From what I'm reading here, Jessops seems to have fallen prey to these difficult retailing dynamics. In the US, we've seen the loss of most of our quality camera retailers, replaced (if at all) by small, low-end mass consumption camera stores in shopping malls. So Jessops closing may be just the most recent example of a global phenomena. The real scary part is what comes next when the is virtually no retail competition: at that point consumers everywhere will be screwed.

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
John
By John (Jan 10, 2013)

I had a budget of £12k to spend on camera equipment for my new media company. I contacted Jessops Glasgow by email twice with a list of equipment I wanted to buy. No-one contacted me back. I phoned on 3 occasions to try and get someone interested in dealing with me. I was told on the three occasions I phoned that that someone would call me back with a quote. No-one ever did.

If they are not motivated enough to deal with someone who wanted to splash £12k, what chance has a normal punter got. No wonder they are going down the tubes. Calumet ended up getting the bulk of the business.

8 upvotes
John Gruffydd
By John Gruffydd (Jan 10, 2013)

I agree with the last poster (jeep). I've only used Jessops once in the last few years and the service was absolutely appalling. They deserved to fail - good riddance. God knows how they've lasted this long.

Unfortunately they had gobbled up some excellent independent shops and small local chains - that sank into the mediocre standard set by Jessops and now they're lost forever.

I do miss Jacobs though - what a difference.

0 upvotes
offertonhatter
By offertonhatter (Jan 10, 2013)

I could not agree more. Jacobs were THE BEST. The Manchester store had the best, most dedicated staff who were all photographers. Not only that they would give expert advise to potential buyers, pointing them to the camera that was best for them and showing alternatives. None of this "you must buy this Canon, you must buy this Nikon" rubbish of other stores. The number of times I just popped in to have a chat with them. Also, the amount of money I actually spent in there is scary! Jacobs, you are missed!

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
jeep
By jeep (Jan 10, 2013)

Despite the changing times, before the advent of online sales Jessop's was responsible for the demise of the local camera shop. Their huge expansion programme saw the local camera shops taken over and staffed with cheaper, younger and less knowledgeable staff. I've done my best to avoid Jessops since then and I used to work near the New Oxford Street head branch, opposite Jacobs which sadly went last year and whom I will miss much more.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Domo P1000
By Domo P1000 (Jan 10, 2013)

I have used Jessops in Oxford for 23 years. Their main store (George Street) used to be absolutely superb up until eight or ten years ago, with wonderfully knowledgeable and dedicated staff. I have bought five EOS-1D’s of assorted pedigree from them over the years as well as numerous pro lenses and the odd point-and-shoot (plus numerous pre-digital bodies). Always a wonderful place to go for a knowledgeable chat and a good selection of hardware until recent years, when it moved into stocking only a small selection of run-of-the-mill kit and was staffed by some who were less well informed – such a shame.

Oxford was fortunate enough to have one independent store (Morris Photographic) and two Jessops (actually, I am convinced there were three Jessops stores for a short period). If both remaining Jessops stores do go, it will leave Oxford without a single photographic retailer… very sad.

0 upvotes
OttoVonChriek
By OttoVonChriek (Jan 10, 2013)

Enougth of this romantiscism.

Online shops, and most discount outlets, don't offer good advice, are not staffed by photographers, do not let you try things out, and if things don't work it's a nightmare.

Small shops are exactly the opposite, and the prices are not much higher either. But people do not buy from them.

I wonder how many romantics in this thread actually purchase from local stores by preference?

1 upvote
Model Mike
By Model Mike (Jan 10, 2013)

It needn't be either/or. Some 'small' shops in the UK offer splendid service as well as a good online presence with fully competitive prices. Call me a New Romantic...

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Nomis65
By Nomis65 (Jan 10, 2013)

I am old enough to remember Jessops in their heyday. I once visited their Leicester store in the early 80s and wandered around in awe. The staff knew their stuff and they seemed to have everything you could ever want.

I think their biggest mistake was to homogenise the look and feel of the stores when they expanded across the nation, and then dumbing down to compete with other high street chains. I can't help thinking that they would have performed better if they had built an affiliation of independent shops. That way they could have offered the personal touch that camera retail really needs, especially at the pro end, while gaining the benefit of group purchasing power. Euronics have managed this for white goods and it seems to work well.

1 upvote
AndyC105
By AndyC105 (Jan 10, 2013)

My local store has some good knowledgeable and helpful staff, with stock levels better than for many years. I suspect the problem for the company is the rise of the camera phone and the cost of high street shops together with online and supermarket competition.

As photographers we see the picture taking process very differently from people who are happy to take photos with any device they have to hand and then post to Facebook etc. It's not about absolute or even good quality for most consumers, simply convenience and phones can do that and video too. This has led to a loss of sales volume that Jessops, Jacobs etc can't cope with, together with a huge drop in consumables such as film, prints, paper etc. This is why selling camera insurance became so important to Jessops - probably more profitable than selling the camera!

I also think the government is going to have to get Amazon & co to pay fair levels of tax here to level the playing field or the highstreet rot will continue.

2 upvotes
nonomad
By nonomad (Jan 10, 2013)

Sadly not many of the comments here are from people who are old enough to remember Jessops when it was a family owned business with a a lot less stores than of late I shopped there through the70s 80s.
They had great stock knowledgable staff and virtually anything in stock a photographer could possibly need, the problem started when they sold out and the bean counters moved in , the chain expanded at a great rate and became just another high st conglomerate with little of the range previously offered, only recently has there been a change to try and revive (to a degree) what the old Jessops was and all to late, the stores as of now will sadly not be missed.

2 upvotes
OttoVonChriek
By OttoVonChriek (Jan 10, 2013)

Hmmm, I am old enougth to remember Jessop's in the 70's, but at that time they just had the one shop...emporium would perhaps have described it better...in London Road.

0 upvotes
Scott Nicol
By Scott Nicol (Jan 10, 2013)

This is bad news for photography as a hobby in the UK. For all its faults (which were many) it had SOME good stores / staff and I feel sorry for them. Plus they were a presence on the high street - people new to photography could go there and ask advice / see and handle cameras before they bought and get their pictures printed. This helps bring new photographers into the hobby, those making the jump from phones to something with more control and IQ.
In the long term, this could be good for independents and the few remaining small camera chains but in the short term this causes disruption in the market place, potentially a flood of cheap stock if theres a firesale and generally puts people off making camera purchases until the dust settles (e.g. people wait to see if jessops start dropping prices) Given the mixed reports we are seeing for Christmas sales, a month of hesitant customers in an already slow period could be enough to force a few non-jessops stores to the wall too.

Comment edited 13 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
maninthestreet
By maninthestreet (Jan 10, 2013)

I think we shouldn't be too negative here, and suggest the shutters may be pulled down on their stores - we need to wait to see what develops. Apparently the administrators have asked for a snapshot of their accounts, so they can get the big picture. Maybe with the right focus, they can reduce their exposure to internet competition.

1 upvote
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (Jan 10, 2013)

That is the standard process with any administrators. The problem is far far greater than internet competition and started way before internet shopping became popular.

0 upvotes
washyshots
By washyshots (Jan 10, 2013)

" Maybe with the right focus ..." "reduce their exposure"

Love it.

1 upvote
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (Jan 10, 2013)

That leaves a big town like Brighton (near which I currently live) with no camera dealerships at all. There's a good second-hand shop which also has quite a lot of accessories (Clock Tower Cameras) but which can hardly take up the slack - indeed probably wouldn't want to. So it's online or a trip to London, which is also shedding its remaining camera dealers very rapidly.
I would say that Jessops in the last few years had made some effort to improve, at least the branches that I know: the New Oxford St. "Flagship" branch in London was abominable however. There were some helpful and receptive staff from whom I have bought a few items.
Interestingly, Park Cameras, whose principal branch is in Burgess Hill - not exactly a convenient location for most people who don't live in, er, Burgess Hill - seems to be successful even though, despite one or two good staff, it leaves much to be desired.
We may have seen the last of retail photography outlets. Not entirely a good development.

0 upvotes
creativebloke
By creativebloke (Jan 10, 2013)

You have Park cameras in Burgess Hill, cheaper than Jessops and independent, but agree potentially losing the Brighton Jessops will not be good, they always have great stock and really great staff

0 upvotes
MiL0
By MiL0 (Jan 11, 2013)

Clock Tower cameras in Brighton is excellent... a 'proper' camera shop if you will. I wonder if they'll start to stock some of the more mainstream stuff now that they're the only camera shop in Brighton? I'd like to see them stock mirrorless stuff at the very least...

0 upvotes
DaytonR
By DaytonR (Jan 13, 2013)

@MiL0 - isnt Clock Tower cameras is round the corner from Jessops ?

0 upvotes
JJonasL
By JJonasL (Jan 10, 2013)

If the UK high street want to reverse their decline they should reconsider their opening hours. Outside London, shops close at 5pm or 5.30pm. People with a full time job and money to spend who need to buy something during the weekdays can't shop at the high street. If shops stayed open until 6 or 7pm they would be able to attract more retail sales. And why open at 9am? How much sales is generated between 9 and 10am?

3 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Jan 10, 2013)

Having worked in retail I can sympathise with your comments, but you also have to think of the people who work in the shops. I remember a letter to The Times from a lady railing against Sunday Trading, since she had a family and valued family time at the weekend. Sunday Lunch was sacrsanct, and was tantamount to a human right.

What a breath of fresh air, thought I, toiling away on Sundays, missing my family.

I read on...
Her point was, therefore, how ridiculous that shops closed at 4pm on a Sunday, scarcely enough time to digest her lunch, having to leave the third course half eaten before rushing her retail therapy. Outrage!

The thing is, there are only so many people ready to work stupid hours. Mostly young singles with no family commitment. And by their nature the staff turnover is higher, not great for building and retaining the expertise. So you end up with lots of spotty youths who don't know photography and don't know how to deal with people. Remind you of any shops?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
sachkan
By sachkan (Jan 10, 2013)

Awful chain. Awful prices. Awful service.
People in the shop did not know photography more often than not. Don't like to see so many people looking for jobs but good riddance to Jessops. If you looked for a filter or cable they would not have it most if the time - they did have bags though - a lot of them - so expect these to go on sale. But if you looked for a conventional lens for your SLR they might have a copy but the price would be sky high - and they haggled over equalling their own website price. The above was not a one off and not only in one shop so it is no surprise shoppers stayed away. Would love to see the independant stores succeed a bit more now. Will not miss this name in photography.

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
cnw180
By cnw180 (Jan 10, 2013)

Could this be good news for the independent camera shops? Jessops simply didnt move with the times, no one wants compact cameras anymore, mobile phones replaced them, but the shop was full of compacts. Its DSLRs and high end stuff like the RX-100 that sell now. They should have started selling the better camera phones too!

They were over priced on many items too. On-line shopping hasnt helped though!

I might open a camera shop now!

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Jan 10, 2013)

Thirty years ago there was just Jessops Of Leicester, with ads like "please note our low, low prices"... Pity that they have eaten themselves out of the market and gone the way of (other) dinosaurs. Very few companies can balance themselves between size and quality, and many grand names just fade into memories...

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
richheath
By richheath (Jan 10, 2013)

I worked for Jessops for 2 years from 2000-2002, I must say it's become a shadow of it's former self. Well stocked shelves of interesting equipment ranging from a Pentax K100 clone all the way up to a Nikon F5 have been replaced with a range of bland digital compacts and low end DSLRs. Asking about anything other than what they have on display always results in "I can order it in, but I'll have to take a deposit" has meant that I no longer visit the store.

Luckily I have two local independents who serve me very well indeed. I was able to buy an X-E1 long before it was available on Amazon, and with the reassurance that if anything goes wrong I can simply pop in and they'll deal with it there and then.

I for one will not be missing Jessops, although I feel for the staff - particularly the few knowledgeable and service oriented staff who remain. I hope they will find a better path and career, as I have. Leaving that place was the best thing I ever did!

2 upvotes
richheath
By richheath (Jan 10, 2013)

It's also interesting that people rue this as another loss on the high street to faceless chain stores. Generally that's exactly what Jessops was, just as Comet was. There may have been a few exceptions, but that was nothing to do with the company, and more to do with local enthusiasts and good management.

0 upvotes
David Lawson
By David Lawson (Jan 10, 2013)

Eventually the fittest will survive and charge what they want. The consumer will loose his bargaining power. A way off I hope

0 upvotes
FuzzTheKingOfTrees
By FuzzTheKingOfTrees (Jan 10, 2013)

Jessops failing can only come down to price. Occasionally something in the shop would be reasonable, I bought the odd lens there because it was a good deal and being able to walk into a shop and buy something is very useful.
This will keep happening to high street chains until they realise they have to be competitive on price. It can be done, John Lewis is a prime example of a shop where you can go in, talk to someone about what you want to buy, handle the goods, get decent service and not pay any more for the privilege.

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jan 10, 2013)

"Better service at no charge" is a difficult way to make money, if the price benchmark is governed by suppliers who have less overhead and fewer (or no) taxes. Lots of people are pleased to visit "bricks and mortar" stores to see and touch goods, but buy them online anyway. Meanwhile, isn't the best "service" that which lets you compare thousands of products without travel, view the opinions of hundreds of buyers, and get free shipping and a generous policy for return of defective products?

1 upvote
Austin101
By Austin101 (Jan 10, 2013)

Bad management, Bad service, Bad Prices, its no surprise they've gone bust

3 upvotes
munro harrap
By munro harrap (Jan 10, 2013)

Imagine having no bakers or fishmongers, and having to buy EVERYTHING online.80% of all I have bought online has to be returned because it arrives wrecked- the incompetence has to be seen to be believed- but you do not get this with a shop and can simply take it back if it proves to be no good, much better, and so much less hassle.

On the other hand there is more legal protection online, and you are less likely to fall victim to the eccentricities of shopkeepers who resent being told to their faces, however politely, that the machinery they sell is below par-probably because its got wrecked already on its long badly packed journey from the Far East.

Having been thrown around in vans by British couriers-all right, MATE?!-being usually the final blow....

Notice how Apple, Dell, Nikon, Canon, do not deliver? Sony? Panasonic? (both send out cameras costing thousands in plastic bags)

Can't they AFFORD their own transportation? WE should be able to buy direct and have them do so!!!

0 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Jan 10, 2013)

Every single time I walked into a Jessops store I had a disappointing experience.

Dinosaurs like Jessops should have died years ago. They ripped people off for decades with over priced items and poor service. Now it is their time to vanish.

4 upvotes
stamford
By stamford (Jan 10, 2013)

Sorry - but that's an extraordinary view of the world and misses the point.

The fact is that whether good or bad Jessops (and other stores like it - Comet, Jacobs and others that have bitten the dust in the last couple of months) gave us consumers the chance to go in, pick up and play around with our 'toys' before purchasing.

Ultimately we consumers had a choice whether to purchase from them or from elsewhere on the HIgh Street.

Are you really saying that a world where business & sales are conducted exclusively online is a better place? Particularly when the Amazon monolith gets bigger by the day.

Yes, service and price could have been better at Jessops. But much better this than the alternative, which is that High Street access to camera stores & everything else ceases to exist.

Oh, and there's also another point, which you don't mention -- several thousand people are on the verge of losing their jobs. But maybe you don't care about that either.

1 upvote
MarcLee
By MarcLee (Jan 12, 2013)

"Ultimately we consumers had a choice whether to purchase from them or from elsewhere on the HIgh Street."

Ultimately, some of us used it. I know smaller camera stores run by real fans of photography and not assistants who did not know what models they had on the shelves or what they did. I went there.

0 upvotes
Bluetrain048
By Bluetrain048 (Jan 10, 2013)

Walked into Jessops in Edinburgh with over a grand in pocket to purchase an OMD-EM5 kit. I only wanted to try it out and do a final check of a few things but essentially I was ready to buy it.

The display model was out of battery life, and the assistants wouldn't open a box to let me try one. They told me to come back in a day.

I did. Nobody had bothered to charge the battery. They still didn't have another one for me to try. The staff were quite surly and started pushing me towards buying a Canon 650D - quite how they compare I don't know, but I felt somewhat patronised at the idea.. especially since I've spent about £5k in that shop to date - when I easily could have spent that money online.

If this is how they treat an easy sale, is anyone surprised they're running into trouble?

12 upvotes
FuzzTheKingOfTrees
By FuzzTheKingOfTrees (Jan 10, 2013)

I think the problem comes from having few staff that understand what they are selling. If they did then they would have known that 5 minutes in the charger would give you at least 30 minutes of messing around on the camera to get the answers you needed.

5 upvotes
Ridethelight
By Ridethelight (Jan 10, 2013)

The British high st has become a sad place,i work all over the country and most high street's look the same ie Greggs,costa coffee,many many mobile phone shops and lately an explosion of betting shops and loan shark shops's.

3 upvotes
Andrew Butterfield
By Andrew Butterfield (Jan 10, 2013)

Nothing wrong with chain outlets if they're good. We've all come to rely on many of them. Big towns need them. Small towns can be overwhelmed by them though, and ruined when they go bust.

0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Jan 10, 2013)

The homogenisation of the high street is really sad. Shopping in a new city used to be a fun experience, now it's just vaguely spooky, as you wander round wondering if you ever left your home town in the first place.

5 upvotes
Andrew Butterfield
By Andrew Butterfield (Jan 10, 2013)

My local Jessops has only cardboard POS material in the window with pictures of cameras on it. Their staff look a mess and hang around outside the shop smoking. They charge as much for a slow 1GB SD card as Amazon do for a fast 16GB card. They won't consider doing deals. If they were a great shop, I'd be sad, but I'm just hoping when they go that we might get a nice coffee shop or a deli where they used to be. Sad for the staff though, even the ones who lounge outside with their shirts untucked smoking fags...

7 upvotes
Ridethelight
By Ridethelight (Jan 10, 2013)

Very unfair summary of Jessops,i have dealt with some very good shops with very helpfull ,friendly staff.
Agree they have some weak outlets in towns they should'nt bother with,they should of culled at least half as many shops again in the last couple of yrs.

2 upvotes
Vibrio
By Vibrio (Jan 10, 2013)

its a pretty accurate one though lol

the stores changed from selling camera equipement to selling prints, POS cameras and consumables. Even then they were never competitive. Good in an emergancy if you needed ink or paper but other than that. in saying that I did get my old 5D2 from them as they were the only ones to have it in stock at the time.

1 upvote
JWest
By JWest (Jan 10, 2013)

I picked up my camera from them as they happened to have a good deal on at the time. Prices aren't generally competitive, but you can't expect a high street store to compete with the web.

I always found the staff very helpful and friendly, and often (not always) pretty knowledgeable too. I always wished they had more stock of high-end kit, but I guess they had to diversify to where the money is. Regardless, in this age of web shopping, it was nice to have somewhere on the high street to go and try kit out.

1 upvote
akkers5
By akkers5 (Jan 10, 2013)

I cant help but say that the writing was on the wall. Many moons ago, I always went into Jessops for bits and bobs and I sometimes bought that big expensive item. However, I started to notice that they were starting to get arrogant. I once went into their store in Trafford Centre (Manchester) and stood around for ages and nobody served me even though they were serving people who came in after me. Maybe it was because of the colour of my skin. I walked out and they lost out on my custom. Later I went into my local Jessop store to buy one of the new Canon DSLRs. After looking at it, I tried to get some discount citing net prices. The guy said that he did not have to do a deal with me as the camera was selling like hot cakes. He did not care less about me or my custom and put the camera away hinting that I should leave. I eventually bought the camera from net but never visited a Jessop store again. Their arrogance and customer service has got better of them and they got what they deserve.

2 upvotes
KoKo the Talking Ape
By KoKo the Talking Ape (Jan 10, 2013)

Very sad.

So, what's "high street?" I can't imagine Britain has legalized marijuana, has it?

2 upvotes
FuzzTheKingOfTrees
By FuzzTheKingOfTrees (Jan 10, 2013)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Street

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Jan 13, 2013)

The U.K. "High Street" is more or less the equivalent of the U.S. "Main Street"

0 upvotes
RobG67
By RobG67 (Jan 10, 2013)

What saddens me the most is the way that so many British posters are using that execrable Americanism 'store', when the word they really want is 'shop'. Shops are were goods are bought, stores are were goods are kept ie 'stored'.

4 upvotes
digitall
By digitall (Jan 10, 2013)

I agree to some extent but 'store' is widely used for large establisments in the UK. BHS: British Home Stores, Co-operative stores etc. Shop tends to be used for smaller businesses. We see the word 'retailer' used too, e.g., Britain's high street retail giant...
However, I too like to see the simplest and most appropriate expression used where possible. In this case I see little 'execrable' about the use of 'store'. I think that is a bit of a slur against Americans.

2 upvotes
WayneDB
By WayneDB (Jan 10, 2013)

Umm since you on about correct English, the word you really want is "where" not were. "Shops are wHere goods are bought, stores are wHere goods are kept"...

6 upvotes
grantbush
By grantbush (Jan 10, 2013)

So the possible miss-use of the word 'store' saddens you more than the loss of 2000 jobs???

4 upvotes
viking79
By viking79 (Jan 10, 2013)

So, if they don't sell enough cameras and people stop buying from them, they become a store, not a shop.

1 upvote
Joel Turcotte
By Joel Turcotte (Jan 10, 2013)

Continued from below......
This will be really obvious as we transfer more business online, no way the UK government will allow unpaid Corporate Tax either, the initial bad press for Amazon, Starbucks, Google etc is just a toe in the water.
We will end up buying without trying, then returning under Distance Selling etc, which will increase costs, together with the new taxes, to put back the 30% extra we used to save online instead of buying in a shop.
Also overall less people will buy without showrooming first, so even less sales profits than already, so even causing the collapse of the brands.

3 upvotes
diplomat85
By diplomat85 (Jan 10, 2013)

Well said Joel, a voice of reason.

0 upvotes
Joel Turcotte
By Joel Turcotte (Jan 10, 2013)

The only way Canon & Nikon would operate stores would be to run them regardless of losses, or to copy Apple & Bose and restrict distribution and monitor pricing, to ensure their retail outlets were not undercut by 30% every day.
In fact if Canon & Nikon had done this already Jessops would still exist.
Maybe Canon will take over a few flagship locations as touch and try then go away and buy types.
Either way we can look forward to internet tax levy if for no other reason than the treasury will need to replace lost revenue from bricks & mortar taxes, whether from sales VAT, staff PAYE, National Insurance Contributions, etc, plus a local sales tax will be needed to be distributed to councils to replace lost business rates etc.

1 upvote
Vibrio
By Vibrio (Jan 10, 2013)

they can't do anything about pricing

1 upvote
JWest
By JWest (Jan 10, 2013)

"[Camera store], you may only sell our stock at RRP."
"Screw you Canikon, we're selling at 50% off."
"No problem. Oh, you want more stock? Screw you, [camera store]."

0 upvotes
Vibrio
By Vibrio (Jan 11, 2013)

except that its illegal for a manufacturer to stop supplying the shop on the basis of what price they sell the item at. The EU has very strict anti-competitive business laws. canon/nikon would be subected to an unlimited fine if they did.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Jan 11, 2013)

"[Camera store], we'd really appreciate it if you only sell our stock at RRP."
"Screw you Canikon, we're selling at 50% off."
"That's fine, by law you are permitted to do that. Oh dear, we're all out of stock. We'll get back to you later."

0 upvotes
JOrtiz
By JOrtiz (Jan 10, 2013)

This is continuation of I love to buy online.
By buying online we are closing all the local regular stores one by one. I mean, we are leaving out of job thousand and thousand of locals, many of them could be you and any member of your family.
Buying online is going to continue, regardless, but, at least,
Ecommerce should be subject to taxation. That money is needed for schools, hospitals, roads, etc.
It is a new way of doing business that have grown like a mushroom and unattended.
Now you can eat me raw, but something have to be done.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
MarcLee
By MarcLee (Jan 10, 2013)

I don't care. As a consumer I have every right and expectation of going to the business that gives ME the best service at the best price. I like bricks and mortar stores, but I don't intend to treat them as a charity.

7 upvotes
JOrtiz
By JOrtiz (Jan 10, 2013)

I know.Like you there are millions!!!!! But I do not think that to pay taxes is charity. I pay my taxes because I see results.

2 upvotes
MarcLee
By MarcLee (Jan 10, 2013)

Amazon and B&H give me better service and return options than most high street shops. And the shops charge more for spotty sales assistants who know nothing and intense "extended warranty" pressure. Tax is not the only expense that makes bricks and mortar dearer and to pretend that's the main reason for the difference is just plain dishonest.

And I'm not talking about tax being charity, as I am SURE you know. I'm talking about other premiums. In many cases, even if online charged the SAME I'd prefer it over a retail chain because my experience has been better.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Thorbard
By Thorbard (Jan 10, 2013)

I have to agree MarcLee, service is more important than price in many cases. Personally I always found good service and friendly staff in the local Jessops stores and will be sad to see them go.

1 upvote
Andrew Butterfield
By Andrew Butterfield (Jan 10, 2013)

> I pay my taxes because I see results.

You pay your taxes because you have no choice.

4 upvotes
LensBeginner
By LensBeginner (Jan 10, 2013)

Taxes are important, competence is also important.
When I indirectly help occupation I demand competent staff at the stores. Large part of the people I met working in big retailers have no clue whatsoever.

1 upvote
JOrtiz
By JOrtiz (Jan 10, 2013)

I love to buy online, but I have to admit that it is an unfair competition to all the traditional stores.
I know lot of fingers are going to aim me because most people just want to get the bargain now. The cheaper the better regardless who pays for it.
Selling online reduces the overhead to the down minimum. They can generate business even from their garage. Three or five persons can generate a revenue of more than half a million in a year. In some cases "there is no shipping cost" involved, and of course in about 98% of the cases the buyer does not pay sale taxes. Great deal!!!
The conventional stores have to have several employees there whether there is or is not customer present, and have to pay salary, and have to pay compensations, and have to collect sales taxes.
Since the trend is going ecommerce, the ecommerce have to be regulated on a different way.

1 upvote
MarcLee
By MarcLee (Jan 10, 2013)

For me, a photography-lover lamenting the loss of Jessop's is like a coffee-lover lamenting the loss of Starbucks. Both bought up, and tried to drive out, good small retailers and replaced them with less good service.

5 upvotes
Phil Bishop
By Phil Bishop (Jan 10, 2013)

Certainly the case in Stevenage-moved next door to the long established independent who went out of business a year or so later.
Admittedly most of the good staff ended up working for Jessops for a while, and for a few years it was a good shop to visit. High prices, lack of stock and poor service finished this branch off.

0 upvotes
GaryJP
By GaryJP (Jan 10, 2013)

Not only do I not share the experience of "good service" some claim here, I considered myself lucky if I ever met a salesperson who gave a da*n about photography.

4 upvotes
camerashopminion
By camerashopminion (Jan 10, 2013)

Can't have gone to that many Jessops, then. A good third of the people I know in the company live and breathe photography - I dread to think how many photography graduates work for the company.

2 upvotes
Realeyes
By Realeyes (Jan 10, 2013)

I have to agree with this: a good camera shop employs knowledgeable, enthusiastic photographers, who are usually willing to advise their customers, rather than trying to up-sell the extended warranty. The reality, however, is that it is more expensive to employ and retain these type of people, who are making a career in the photography business, than the average spotty young adult who just needs the cash and don't care whether they are selling laptops or headphones.

1 upvote
GaryJP
By GaryJP (Jan 12, 2013)

So every time I went to Jessops I had a one in three chance of getting a knowledgeable assistant?

You do know Russian Roulette has better odds?

And how many times do you expect customers to return after bad experiences and give you another chance? Three? Four? A dozen?

This is why so many retailers just don't seem to get it.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
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