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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
K_Photo_Teach
By K_Photo_Teach (Jan 9, 2013)

I believe internet sales had a part to play but what was their main seller? Could it have been compacts? If so camera phones would have played a far greater role

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

Its more complicated than that and it goes back years.

They expanded to fast.

Bought existing camera shops they never should have purchased.

Opened in towns they should never have opened in.

Opened shops in the wrong streets.

Gave far too little control to the branch managers.

Made far too little profit per shop compared to the competition.

Went into areas of sales they should have not entered.

The list goes on and on...

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
K_Photo_Teach
By K_Photo_Teach (Jan 10, 2013)

I agree, it was alot more than internet sales

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Jan 13, 2013)

Jessops started to decline even before internet buying was popular.

They way over expanded; started hiring less knowledgeable, inexperienced staff; and stopped carrying many speciality items.

Perhaps manufacturers will have to open their own showrooms where people can try stuff before they buy on line.

0 upvotes
Alexis
By Alexis (Jan 9, 2013)

What a sad day indeed.
I will miss the service that I was getting from both Jessops and Jacobs (also gone bust). I recently invested in a good quality independent lens for my Canon D-SLR. My first sample front focused badly the 2nd less so and the 3rd is perfect - evcery time (Jacobs) were happy to swap it for another and another - you don't get that kind of service on the internet - I cannot imagine ever buying an expensive lens over the internet.

How very sad for those that are losing their jobs.

1 upvote
JonHob
By JonHob (Jan 9, 2013)

I work for Jessops Brian and we spoke about this very thing. I would like to see it but would Nikon and Canon open up on the high street? Could they afford to? Possibly Sony or Panasonic perhaps. If anything, camera gear will now increase in price (IMHO). When was the last time you got a real 'deal' from Apple? They set their prices and very rarely move from it.

0 upvotes
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (Jan 9, 2013)

Panasonic and Sony already have high street presence with their franchised shops. Neither company is in a great financial position anyway.

Prices won't increase either as one of Jessops many problems is that they were not anymore competitive anyway. This would partly be due to the fact they were not in a position to negotiate great prices from the suppliers due to requiring as much credit as they could get from the suppliers.

0 upvotes
wormred
By wormred (Jan 10, 2013)

Camera prices will decrease. Japanese government will print more Yen, thus weakening the Yen to boost its exports, and internal economic activity. A weak Yen will mean cheaper cameras from Japan for us.

0 upvotes
brian thomson
By brian thomson (Jan 9, 2013)

I now expect camera manufacturers to adopt the kind of retail model that Apple uses i.e. how long before London sees its first Nikon and Canon Stores? One location where you can (in theory) find all their gear in stock at a reasonable price, and (hopefully) people who know it and can support it better than a "middleman" with torn loyalties. Heck, this could even be a chance for Pentax to get one up on their bigger rivals: bring on the Pentax Store!

0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (Jan 10, 2013)

London already has a Canon store, Canon specialist York Cameras. And London also already has the world's best Nikon store, Grays of Westminster. And the town has it's many Sony stores, the biggest being Sony Galleria of Tottenham Court Road. There is also a Panasonic specialist just 30 seconds walk away from the Sony store, but I dunno how well known it is throughout London. There is also a Samsung store just two doors away from the Sony one. What I don't see is an Olympus store or a Pentax store or a Fuji store.

0 upvotes
ptodd
By ptodd (Jan 10, 2013)

There's a shop near the Euston Road end of Tottenham Court Road which is a Pentax specialist. I was warned before going in there that the guy who runs it was quite rude, and was most amused to discover how true that was.
He did seem to mostly know his stuff, although he was wrong in thinking that I didn't; indeed the one thing that he insisted on correcting me on (the ability of the Kx body to receive feedback from aperture rings on old lenses so that eg Av mode would work), he was indeed wrong on. Maybe he didn't understand what I was saying, but given my efforts to ask very precisely and rephrase the question to make sure there was no ambiguity, I'm not quite sure how that could have happened. Very good selection of lenses, though.
Other retailers I spoke to on TCR said that they'd stopped selling Pentax partly because of the bad relationship they had with Pentax reps IIRC. This was about 2 years ago I suppose.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (Jan 10, 2013)

@ ptodd

Now you mention it, I think I know the shop you are talking of. Is it the camera shop on right before the traffic lights and on the same side as PC World, and not too far from Boots Chemist??

In any event, from your description I certainly wouldn't wanna buy from a rude "know-nothing-know-it-all". So things don't look too good for Pentaxians then.

So that just leaves an Oly store for the Olympians.

Coming back to this Jessops thing, one of the biggest problems, well actually THE biggest problem, for retail stores in that area of the West End of London is the absolutely OBSCENE rents and rates they have to pay.

There was once a very very good and long estabisished camera store called Kingsley Photographic that not too long ago had to close down and one of the things they cited was the crippling rents and rates. I can't remember the exact figure but it was obscene. Local councils (and private landlords) are really shooting themselves in the foot with this kinda greed.

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Jan 13, 2013)

I haven't lived in London for a while, but, aside from Spectrum Camera on Tottenham Ct. Road, Chiswick Camera Centre on Acton Lane in West London carried Pentax stuff - and it seems they still do.
http://chiswickcameras.co.uk

The main Selfridges on Oxford Street is also supposed to have a "Pentax Pro Centre"

0 upvotes
GraemeF
By GraemeF (Jan 9, 2013)

I hope some sort of rescue can be worked out. Jessops is one of the last few remaining camera shops staffed by people who have a passion for photography. I've spent a considerable sum of money in local Jessops stores in the last couple of years. Yes, I could have bought cheaper elsewhere, but useful, friendly advice and honest opinions are worth paying that little bit extra for.

4 upvotes
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (Jan 9, 2013)

Very unlikely. The company would need major restructuring from the top downwards and lot of new management brought in.

Greater powers would also need to be given to branch manager and some of those managers would not have the experience to use that power so would need to go.

A lot of the shops would need to be closed down anyway as they are in poor positions and in towns that simple can't justify the branches in the first place.

Within the next few days a lot of companies will most likely turn up to retrieve any unpaid stock which is still within the 30 to 60 day payment period. The companies will also most likely not be willing to give them credit terms in the future either so obtaining stock could turn into a nightmare.

Unfortunately Jessops going has been on the cards for many years. They expanded far to fast and bought up existing camera shops they should never have purchased in the first place.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Jan 9, 2013)

It's 2013, why would anyone want to buy a camera from a B&M store ? In the last 15 years I have purchased all of my camera gear online and before that by mail order. I did buy $20,000 of photography studio gear at Photo Expo 86 (Nov 1986) in NYC from Calumet/Photo Marketplace because of show special deals but that was not like a local camera store.

0 upvotes
camerashopminion
By camerashopminion (Jan 9, 2013)

Not sure what "It's 2013" has to do with anything, can't remember the last time I looked at a calendar and thought "damn, guess I'll have to stay home today, going into town was SO 2011"...

4 upvotes
Lea5
By Lea5 (Jan 9, 2013)

I do and I will ever do as long as shops are there to walk in. I bought all my gear in my trusted shop. I got a special price for my D4 in return of my old outworn D3 and a brandnew D800E for my old D3X for nill, including a battery grip for free, plus a free sensor cleaning per 2 x per year. When there is a problem I jump in my car and in 20 minutes I'm in the shop, where the friendly boss and staff care for me and my gear. No internet seller does that.

6 upvotes
racketman
By racketman (Jan 9, 2013)

This is capitalism, the weak must give way unless of course they are a bank in which case the tax payer will bail them out and they will reward themselves huge bonuses.

9 upvotes
grant Harris
By grant Harris (Jan 9, 2013)

Can B&H open a branch in the UK now Jessops are going?

A sad day but the other two camera retailers in my small town must be breathing a sigh of relief

0 upvotes
Vibrio
By Vibrio (Jan 10, 2013)

unlikely as they close on a saturday and half day on friday lol

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
1 upvote
linux99
By linux99 (Jan 9, 2013)

Horribly sad news.

This will leave the vast majority of UK cities without a dedicated camera retailer.

2 upvotes
rajgedhu
By rajgedhu (Jan 9, 2013)

I agree, and this is very tragic, even if they weren't seen by many to be the best at what they do. But their demise will also leave the majority of cities in the UK without somewhere to buy film and have it processed and printed.

2 upvotes
TheBoyWonder
By TheBoyWonder (Jan 9, 2013)

The number of online outlets that could undercut them has surely lead to the demise of Jessops. I have on occasion bought a couple of expensive lenses though them online, but the majority of their inventory was overpriced.
I thought they took a nosedive a few years back, where the flagship store in Glasgow basically turned into a conduit for selling nothing but digital, ignoring the fact that some of us actually still embrace photography in all forms.
The slow dwindle of the loss of all but digital has I would think contributed to their demise, with the small shops stuffed with assistants selling low end DSLR and point and shoots to the public. Anything of interest to me could be bought cheaper elsewhere.
The only thing go going for them in the end was that you could actually go in and try out a possible purchase, then unfortunately for them buy it elsewhere cheaper or hold out for the hobbyist with too much time and money on their hands to flog it on eBay.

0 upvotes
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (Jan 9, 2013)

Their problems started before there were online outlets.

1 upvote
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (Jan 9, 2013)

Hmm, my thoughts on all of this:

(1) Jessops were great around the time I got my first digital camera (1999/2000) and up until a few years ago. The flagship store on New Oxford Street, London, was a REAL camera store with downstairs selling medium format cams and other serious items and upstairs having the used cameras and part-exchange section.

Then shareholders got greedy and .....

( 2) they started buying up as many indpedentant high-street cam stores as they could, closed down the used cameras section (that's always a sign to me that a store/company will lose it's real expertise and just become the stack em high sell em cheap LiDL of the camera world), reduced the availability of high-end cams and started to sell the cheap tacky frames and stuff that Boots or Woolworths used to sell. And of course they grew and grew and grew and no doubt kept many a greedy shareholder happy.

(3) Now it seems that they have turnt from predator to prey. Some may say that it's karma/justice.

3 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (Jan 9, 2013)

( 4 ) However, if they do end up going under it means there will be no big High Street store into which one can go and actually touch and try out a wide variery of cameras. It will leave us having to buy from online retailers (something I would rather not do as I find a camera is one of those purchases where how it feels is so important that you just can't buy it based on reviews, spec sheets and pretty pictures alone).

(5) This then means that many of us will find it hard to actually buy a BRAND NEW camera because what we will end up with is RETURNS; re-boxed (and as is often the case, with bits missing!!) returns from people who have bought online and then realised that they don't actually like the camera. And this of course will increase the admin burden on online retailers and no doubt make postal companies very happy due to the increase in business.

2 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (Jan 9, 2013)

(6) Whilst one can criticise Jessops' past greed, which I suspect has been a major factor in their current problems, I do not think their closure would be good for the camera buying public and I don't think it will be good for the camera industry either.

1 upvote
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Jan 9, 2013)

Wonder why they got rid of second-hand? Franchised car dealers love second-hand - if the customer wants that particular car then they can't buy it anywhere else, whereas all the brand new stuff, test drive locally, buy online. Shortsighted?

0 upvotes
designdef
By designdef (Jan 9, 2013)

I genuinely feel for the staff who have lost their jobs, but Jessops is just another British company whos management failed to grasp what was needed years ago. How can it be so obvious to the man in the street / customer, and so missing from the minds of the owners. You have to act quickly and decisively and know what to do. Jessops were in a great position with their well respected outlets but just didn't know what it takes to survive. Pity.

1 upvote
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Jan 9, 2013)

How soon before Amazon is forced to open city-centre 'showrooms' where customers can come to touch the goods and get some expert service before placing their order? I guess they will wait until the last firm running the old "try it here, buy it elsewhere" business model finally goes to the wall.

5 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jan 9, 2013)

Trivia, I know but it's interesting to see the words the British use for these situations. When Ilford USA imploded, that was "receivership". This time, it's administration. If Walmart employees can be associates, I guess you can call anything, anything, so long as it sounds good.

I wonder how many specialty camera stores will survive, given that cameras are now just electronic gadgets like cell phones or GPS units. All the good profit stuff like consumables and processing are pretty much history. It's tough to get by on lens pens and bags.

0 upvotes
DMillier
By DMillier (Jan 9, 2013)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Administration_%28law%29

0 upvotes
linux99
By linux99 (Jan 9, 2013)

They're different things. We actually both Administration (which tries to sell a going concern) and Recievership (which is a fire sale) in the UK.

0 upvotes
rajgedhu
By rajgedhu (Jan 9, 2013)

Maybe, now that the big fish has gone, independent retailers might actually have a chance of survival. As I said in a reply to a later post, it's just a shame that many cities in the UK will have no shop that sells film or processes and prints it which will have a further detrimental effect on film photography.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jan 9, 2013)

Capitalism consists of "creative destruction." New products or business models render the old ones obsolete or uncompetitive.

Consumer electronics are a mug's game for retailers:
1) falling prices;
2) consumers who don't want to pay for sales tax, building rent, or armies of clerks;
3) alternative sources product information;

Plus, there's the killer for cameras and camcorders: phones that shoot photos and video, and do a lot else.

Booksellers and newspaper publishers are in a similar squeeze, if not worse.

0 upvotes
Clear as Crystal
By Clear as Crystal (Jan 9, 2013)

I wonder if the change from film to digital is as much to blame as Amazon? Jessops really lost relevance to me when I finally switched away from a film SLR 6 years ago. When I was using film Jessops was one of the few places I could go and have films reliably developed and printed. Thinking back 15 years their shops were always busy but people would browse and maybe pick up an accessory while they were waiting - the last time I was in a Jessops the customers were outnumbered by the sales staff and they have obviously lost revenue from developing and printing. A sad day but as someone else has said hopefully it will give small independents a chance of survival.

2 upvotes
BaldCol
By BaldCol (Jan 10, 2013)

The change from film to digital also brought about another change. People upgrade thier cameras now far more often than they used to. A goods shop would have been able to take advantage of this, selling more and buying good second hand for resale.

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Jan 9, 2013)

Management?

Competition?

Work Culture?

Online Retail?

Marketing shift?

Perhaps all of the above and many more...

...and this won't be the only time big guns fall like this.

The reality is the demand for consumerism will still be there, existing.

Where it will go, picking up the pieces, is anybody's guess...

.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2013)

Feel sorry for our camera and accessory loving British brothers and sisters, we also lost a major camera retailer recently here in North America, RITZ CAMERAS.

Interestingly, there is a Jessops Tavern operating here in New Castle, Delaware, good news in all of this is that they are not going out of the ale and food business. :-))

0 upvotes
bills_pix
By bills_pix (Jan 9, 2013)

I visited Glasgow from Canada in the spring and was blown away by the lens selection at Jessops on Sauchiehall Street. They had EVERY Nikon lens I could think of on display including all the PC lens and the 300, 400, 500, and 600.

Except for B&H, I doubt you would see that type of selection anywhere else in North America and this was a very small store. Totally surprised.

0 upvotes
dunkreid
By dunkreid (Jan 9, 2013)

bills_pix

One of the issues was / is that Jessops has another branch 500 yards further east on Sauchiehall Street at Buchanan Galleries, and used to have yet another branch 500 yards south at Central Station on Union Street. There was no planning or rationale behind the whereabouts of their High Street presence. Jessops acquired geographically random outlets and seemed to do nothing to rationalise afterwards.

Still, it's good to hear that the "proper" Sauchiehall Street branch held it's own (at least in relation to Nikon). I hope (and suspect) that this branch will be retained as part of the Jessops chain as a flagship store. Cheers.

1 upvote
Agitater
By Agitater (Jan 10, 2013)

bills_pix - Vistek, Henry's, Downtown Camera, Aden in Toronto. Don's Photo in Winnipeg. The Camera Store in Calgary. Adorama, Calumet, Sammy's and at least a dozen others throughout the U.S.

They've all got comprehensive selections. London and New York aren't the destinations the used to be. Still great, no doubt, but not the only places to go for great access to huge assortments of gear.

0 upvotes
whiteheat
By whiteheat (Jan 9, 2013)

"Finally, at present Jessops is not in a position to honour customer vouchers or to accept returned goods." That last statement has guaranteed that there will not be any further significant sales generated by the company. Would you buy from a store that would not take any returned items regardless of reason for the return?

6 upvotes
crisotunity
By crisotunity (Jan 9, 2013)

I picked up a small camera at 12:30 today.
The manager at the Jessops in central London was as creepy and pushy as they come trying to sell me a 50GBP 3-year insurance. I practically threatened to walk out of the shop without the camera and he still wouldn't stop.
This was out and out fraudulent behaviour - the guy basically made sure that there is no coming back for this retailer. He might as well set fire to the store. This is why the high street is on its knees. I'm sorry for the staff who don't deserve this, but the company obviously promoted the bullies.
The good retailers (John Lewis, Apple,etc) are still making mad cash and don't blame Amazon for their own idiocy.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
camerashopminion
By camerashopminion (Jan 9, 2013)

90% Truth - but I never list John Lewis as one of the "good retailers". Not since I found out they were actively advising customers to come to us for advice then come back to them and they'd undercut our prices, on the grounds that they knew almost nothing about the products. While I know this is the act of a few bad eggs and not company policy, I still hold it against them that this sort of thing was allowed to go on as long as it did. Thankfully, a few decent and honest customers rumbled them and it eventually stopped.

2 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Jan 9, 2013)

Why was it fraudulent behaviour? Pushy, maybe, but clearly Jessops needed to push for every penny it could get. Insurance products are not backed by the retailer, just in case they go bust, so I don't see what was fraudulent about trying to sell it, even if he knew the company was going insolvent (which I doubt he would actually know, whatever he might suspect).

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
crisotunity
By crisotunity (Jan 9, 2013)

@camerashopminion
Yikes - sorry I didn't know that this sort of thing was taking place. Totally out of order.
And, for balance and for all it's worth, let me say that the people on the New Oxford st Store were always knowledgable and helpful (and, as a result, I have spent around £1,600 in the last 18 months).
It is a shame that Jessops over-extended themselves; maybe fewer stores with consistently high quality was the way forward.

@wetsleet: I have a bridge to sell you at an amazing price - totally covered by insurance so it's all above board ;-)

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2013)

I'm with crisotunity on this.

0 upvotes
Peter Del
By Peter Del (Jan 9, 2013)

I have a different view of John Lewis. I had not used my computer for 1 year and when I moved it would not work, so I went to them to buy a new one. The assistant said all I need is a particular gizmo, which they didn't sell. I bought one for £25, instead of a new computer for £500.

1 upvote
Joe P Doyle
By Joe P Doyle (Jan 9, 2013)

All high street retail has to compete with online, the high street will soon become high end retail and one big food hall, part of the problem is local councils with crippling business rates, they need not worry as they'll pass costs on to residents. The next ten years is going to be very interesting

4 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2013)

Same thing is going on here in the States. It is the small local governments (city, country, state) that are so greedy, they would rather break and drive all businesses out of business with ever increasing taxes of all kinds.

2 upvotes
racketman
By racketman (Jan 9, 2013)

not to mention the difficulty parking anywhere at a reasonable charge in the average UK high street, like many I shop at out of town supermarkets for the ease of parking. I realise this is not Arizona and there is no possibility of every shop having its own parking lot but councils have to give local shops a break and allow more free short stay spaces and less draconian traffic wardens.

5 upvotes
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (Jan 10, 2013)

That is not the problem though as plenty of camera shops are making a profit.

0 upvotes
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (Jan 9, 2013)

Thanks, Amazon!

0 upvotes
camerashopminion
By camerashopminion (Jan 9, 2013)

I don't blame Amazon that much. Mostly I blame the people who come to the shop, talk to me for nearly an hour, and once we've established exactly what they want and made it fit their budget... They say they're "going for a coffee" and never come back. Then show up a week later with the camera in hand, asking how to do something with it. And yet, I still end up helping them... It's MY FAULT! I was too nice...

11 upvotes
Stephen Mounsey
By Stephen Mounsey (Jan 9, 2013)

Jessops seemed to be making striking efforts to be more price competitive lately. I was one of those who chose to buy my Nikon D600 from Jessops because it was only slightly more expensive than Amazon, I've had good customer service from them in the past and I valued the existence of a local branch should I require that service. Bummer...

4 upvotes
DMillier
By DMillier (Jan 9, 2013)

It wasn't me! I have bought lots of gear online admittedly but over the last 13 years Jessops got my money for my Coolpix 950, CP3100, KM A200, 350D, 450D, 5D, K5 as well as lenses, paper, ink, filters. Before Digital, a Bronica film outfit and Pentax spotmeter and a ton of second hand stuff. They have well out of me, my conscience is clear.

What happens to all their inventory, I wonder

0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (Jan 9, 2013)

You can't really blame Amazon and their ilk.

Look at Carphone Warehouse, you could argue that they are the Jessops of the mobile phone world. Yet, as far as I am aware, they have never once been in administration. And the mobile phone world is far far more fickle than the camera world, with a new phone not lasting much more than six months to a year before another model comes out and with very little opportunity to sell accessories once a sale is made, unlike a camera where one may need a tripod, filters and such like. Carphone Warehouse are surving the online retail threat so I am curioius to know why Jessops can't (I suspect Jessops are just looking for someone else to blame rather than their own silly greed which saw them open branch after branch after branch by gobbling up small independent stores, and many a time there was no consideration as to the viability of having Jessops after Jessops store all within a short walking distance of each other)

0 upvotes
aalaref
By aalaref (Jan 9, 2013)

Today is a sad day :-(
I had lots of good times there i loved buying my gears from them

1 upvote
JonB1975
By JonB1975 (Jan 9, 2013)

Dammit. Nowhere to go to in Huddersfield to develop MF film any more.

0 upvotes
Felix11
By Felix11 (Jan 9, 2013)

More bad news for the UK high street.
It is undoubtedly difficult for any business to compete against internet retailers with much low costs (especially when consumers can use the shop to touch the goods and then order them on-line).

However, the major problem which must be fixed is the multinationals like Amazon, Starbucks etc not paying tax. This gives them yet another advantage over or local businesses.

The high street in the UK is in a terrible state with an explosion of 'pound'-shops, charity shops and betting shops replacing familiar names.

4 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2013)

Pound shops? OMG, we've got the super low-end "dollar shops" of all types around here in spades -- Thrifty Dollar, Value Dollar, Family Dollar, etc.

0 upvotes
racketman
By racketman (Jan 9, 2013)

your normal shops seem cheap to UK visitors, it's not called Rip-Off Britain for no reason.

0 upvotes
BRPWS
By BRPWS (Jan 9, 2013)

Very sad

0 upvotes
dunkreid
By dunkreid (Jan 9, 2013)

I commiserate with the staff. I've had excellent, knowledgable service from Jessops branches in Glasgow. And I remember when their prices used to be competitive - £399 for an Oly ZD 11-22mm back in the day, for example.

However, in my humble opinion, Jessops over extended themselves in the early 2000's and the iimpact of these acquisitions was that Jessops have had to pay the prohibitive business and property rates involved in having a prolific High Street presence (and the UK High Street is on it's knees, irrespective of sector), while the online competition with much less in the way of overheads has been able to undercut Jessops left, right and centre.

Never mind the impact of phone camera's, they've been up against it for ages in the traditional camera market because their business model's out of whack with the way things now work and was simply not sustainable; too much bricks and mortar on the High Street costing an arm and a leg in business and property rates.

5 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2013)

People are flocking to Apple Stores, and for instance Sony has plenty of Sony product only showrooms here in the States. At least in the bigger cities, all mfrs should try to maintain a small showroom where someone cell show off their wares. Then after we see what they have, we can order the stuff online. We need product showrooms at least to see the gear for real, since the independent brick and mortar stores are going away.

With camera stores folding left and right, the manufacturers cannot be as cavalier as to expect every one of us will be ordering everything sight unseen from online only. There are Apple and Sony stores, how about setting up some Canon, Nikon, Sigma, etc. showrooms here and there?

3 upvotes
dunkreid
By dunkreid (Jan 9, 2013)

Yes, exactly.

I was hoping to outline the model that you've described here but hit the comment character limit.

It's not very desirable (the odd showroom here and there throughout the UK in major conurbations), but it seems like a necessity for the foreseeable future.

But what then for the independent stores? As long as these showrooms were driven by specific manufacturers rather than specific retailers (big supermarkets / chains) then the independents could be involved as stakeholders in some form or another.

I don't know. I'm uncertain as to what to suggest when it comes to redesigning the whole supply-demand chain for consumer electronics without upsetting any party with a vested interest.

EDIT

[goes back to stacking a shelf]

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Hugh Thomson
By Hugh Thomson (Jan 9, 2013)

Actually thats quite a good idea! Jessops could remodel their high street presence as showrooms for the likes of Canon, Nikon, Sigma etc combined and sponsored by same!

Staff could be trained by the manufacturers to be expert in the specific range of products. Product sales could still be retained via their online website, directly accessible at the showrooms! Basically a remodelling of what in reality happens right now!

Working directly in partnership with the mainstream manufacturers also provides opportunity to offer deals unavailable elsewhere.

There must be potential to do something like this...everyone wins...the consumer has hands on access to the latest gear and professional knowledge, Jessops maintains a high street presence and staff, opportunity for more competitive pricing of products and finally the manufacturers have a direct link to the consumer!

1 upvote
WayneDB
By WayneDB (Jan 9, 2013)

interesting... here in Dubai (U.A.E) such a model almost exists. There is only one Canon importer for example. They have three or four stores pretty much dedicated to Canon products. Prices are fixed and at a level generally higher then your "virgin" type carry-all store. They supply independents and other stores who are free to sell the goods at pretty much any price they want. However product knowledge is clearly lacking in such retailers. So yes you can go into the "Canon" store and talk to Canon people and play with the cameras to your hearts content...and then go next door and buy it at a discount retailer. The Canon store still smiles as they sold another camera...via their distribution supply-chain. Same goes for Olympus, Nikon/Fuji (company has both brands), Panasonic, Sony etc...you will find them in most malls. And you will find their products cheaper elsewhere.

1 upvote
Ceistinne
By Ceistinne (Jan 9, 2013)

Well said, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Hope the company will survive but change to be more like what the old Jessops was before the madcap drive to acquire more and more stores took hold.
They gave good value then, it could be done again.

1 upvote
Joe P Doyle
By Joe P Doyle (Jan 9, 2013)

Looks like LTD in admin, GROUP continues hence OR

0 upvotes
Joe P Doyle
By Joe P Doyle (Jan 9, 2013)

Jessops Group and Jessops Group Ltd

Admin the LTD and protect Group/Shareholders/Assets, Hence OR (“Jessops or the Company”)

0 upvotes
Joe P Doyle
By Joe P Doyle (Jan 9, 2013)

Also for Redundancies the Tax-Payer will pick up most of the tab as LTD company in Admin, restructure finance and come back as Jessops Retail Ltd, time will tell.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 9, 2013)

I think you've misunderstood the wording. The press release means that the Jessops Group is in administration and that for the rest of the press release Jessops Group PLC will be referred to as either 'Jessops' or 'the company' so that they don't have to spell out Jessops Group PLC every time they use it.

However, your broader point my be correct - it's unlikely the parent company 'Snap Equity Limited' is in administration.

0 upvotes
Joe P Doyle
By Joe P Doyle (Jan 9, 2013)

Correct they recently spent a fortune on shop refurbs so can't see them letting that go.
I'll give you 1/20 on they downsize high st presence, improve online and restructure under new finance and new LTD before or in new tax year.

1 upvote
scotbot
By scotbot (Jan 9, 2013)

This is really sad news. Not at all surprising though, and perhaps good news for the few remaining independents.

0 upvotes
GermaninLondon
By GermaninLondon (Jan 9, 2013)

I am surprised that they lasted that long. Sometimes huge retail spaces with loads of empty spaces and shelves, very limited choice, not very competent staff, how they managed to attract business for such a long time escapes me. It all went downhill when they revamped their flagship store in New Oxford Street probably a decade ago, which used to attract huge numbers of photo enthusiasts (for example by offering the best selection of second-hand equipment in London or even the UK) and then just became another bland electronics store. I really want to support high street stores and am even willing to pay more but in return I then also expect better service and at least a reasonable selection of products. I don't think you can blame the economic crisis for that. It was a business model, which could not survive.

9 upvotes
increments
By increments (Jan 9, 2013)

Couldn't have said it better...

2 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (Jan 9, 2013)

Real shame, where can we try out cameras now before going home and buying them online?

I know it's true because I used to work there.

5 upvotes
BRPWS
By BRPWS (Jan 9, 2013)

unfortunately it is the same everywhere.

2 upvotes
saviour
By saviour (Jan 9, 2013)

For that, everyone is guilty.

I’m surprised they have lasted that long.
People in the UK have to wake up and realise that sometimes spending £25 more in a total of say £500 is not the end of the world and should be accepted as a fee for being able to view the damn thing.

That said, they were for the most part pretty competitive in pricing.

6 upvotes
paul simon king
By paul simon king (Jan 9, 2013)

The internet killed them on price - they lost their way immediately the internet hit - Im just surprised they managed to cling on for so long.

Customer service was never better than average

Serves them right- they put most of the local independents out of business by undercutting them way back when and they're just getting a taste of their own medicine.

5 upvotes
Roxburgh
By Roxburgh (Jan 9, 2013)

It's not a surprise, but it is a shame, as it's one of the last shop outlets I've been to that has knowledgable and enthusiastic staff. Cycle shops you'll be next :-(

0 upvotes
joejack951
By joejack951 (Jan 9, 2013)

Cycle shops have the advantage of being able to provide service on-site. A lot of (most/all?) camera/lens-related service requires shipping the product to the manufacturer. There are simply not as many people qualified to work on cameras/lenses as there are for bikes.

Bikes are far simpler and have many shared components between brands (aside from frames, many bikes are nearly identical across brands). Bikes require more frequent maintenance and a single frame can be upgraded many times. And fortunately for shops, most people don't possess the skills, patience, tools, and/or space to do this work themselves.

I build my bikes starting from a bare frame and my wheels start as a pile of spokes, nipples, hubs, and rims but I'm probably 1:100,000 cyclists who does the same.

2 upvotes
racketman
By racketman (Jan 9, 2013)

I'd be surprised if Cycle shops went the same way. All the staff in the many outlets in my area seem very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and cycling is booming.

0 upvotes
rondhamalam
By rondhamalam (Jan 9, 2013)

It's difficult to return a product on Jessops and Jacobs.

on Amazon it is very easy to return a product.

That's the main reason I never buy from Jessops and Jacobs again ever.

I only buy from Amazon...
again and again and again and again......

that's real

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
KieranGee
By KieranGee (Jan 9, 2013)

It's difficult to return a product to a high street store because you're not always entitled to return it. Oddly enough, us retailers have rights too, and one of those rights is to see if it is economically viable for us to repair rather than replace an item.
We also have a right for the goods to be returned in a condition that allows us to sell them on at their full value (ie, unopened).
If Amazon allow you to return a product just because you don't like the shape, the colour or you feel that every sixth pixel isn't performing at one hundred percent, then fine, but they'd be just as entitled to say "actually, I'd just like to send this off for assessment first, and THEN we'll see about giving you a brand new one at a loss for us".

3 upvotes
dscobie62
By dscobie62 (Jan 9, 2013)

Online purchasing gives the consumer more rights (distant selling). Online retailers don't have the same powers as high street in turning down refunds. That said Amazon are more 'relaxed' than most.

2 upvotes
linux99
By linux99 (Jan 9, 2013)

Actually KieranGee you need to brush up on your sale of good act. I have a RIGHT to return goods which are defective without quibble gvien to me by law.

Sure they have to be defective and not just I change my mind but I certainly dont have to accept a repair (and may be better off not doing so in fact since this could affect my later rights).

2 upvotes
rondhamalam
By rondhamalam (Jan 10, 2013)

I am sure there's the rights for the retailers to return to manufacturers. Some defects are coming from manufacturers.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
marbo uk
By marbo uk (Jan 9, 2013)

Sad to see them go but happy i spent my vouchers last week.

3 upvotes
TransAm
By TransAm (Jan 9, 2013)

Happy for you but I was in one of their stores today with my £250 vouchers about to buy a 60d. They didn't have one in stock but as they were expecting one in tomorrow asked me to come back then. Grrrr

0 upvotes
Paul Guba
By Paul Guba (Jan 9, 2013)

You still have photo stores in the UK? Nearest one to me is probably New York City and thats in another state. Thought they were all gone years ago.

0 upvotes
Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (Jan 9, 2013)

We have several in Canada ... Vistek, Henrys, Don's, etc ... our prices are pretty good (see photoprice.ca) and yet these stores survive. Go figure.

1 upvote
easyeddy
By easyeddy (Jan 9, 2013)

For all of you trying to rationalize Jessops failure relative to number of stores, location on the high street, competition with the internet, or any other retail photographic context, you should note that Jessops was indebted up to the eyeballs by ABN Private Equity in the mid-2000's and like any company in that circumstance a miracle had to happen to enable Jessops to service that debt after the bankers had left. Instead the recession happened and Jessops was doomed.

1 upvote
farrukh
By farrukh (Jan 9, 2013)

Woohoo, time to bag a bargain!

1 upvote
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (Jan 9, 2013)

Ha ha ha! That's the spirit, an opportunist. :o)

0 upvotes
57even
By 57even (Jan 9, 2013)

Jessops have been staggering from one financial disaster to another - too many points of presence in expensive locations. Far too many things that most branches simply don't stock and they focus primarily on the cheapest ranges of everything.

Still, in many cities they are the only bricks and mortar presence. Should be an opportunity there for someone willing to pick up some liquidation assets but tough for those that like to try before they buy. However, to survive B&M stores need to offer services you cannot get online (like lots of demo models, good after sales support, advice, commission sales, high class accessories).

In the meantime online retailers like Park and Wex seem to be doing well - wide ranges, great website and good customer service on the phone (esp. Park).

2 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (Jan 9, 2013)

But Park also have a "soul", if soul is the right word. I dunno if you have been to Park, but it's a wonderful experience. With Jessops you sometimes get a vibe, that you didn't get say 10 years ago, that "this is a business and we just happen to sell camera gear" whereas with Park the vibe seems to be "we love camera, we want you to love camera gear, and it just so happens that our love is also our business"

They have things like Demo Days, and Seminars and specific brand days etc.

They are not just an online presence, they have a high street presence and a damn good one at that. They are about 60 miles away from me, and I have been there just once but it left a lasting impression on me.

Jessops could be like Park, and they were once, but theyhave chosen not to be.

They have chosen to be "cheap" so they attract "cheap" (customers) who will treat them cheaply (touchy feely for one hour and then go off and buy online.

0 upvotes
nico1974
By nico1974 (Jan 9, 2013)

Feel sorry for the staff that work there. Used to have a summer job in Jessops New Oxford Street (London) back in 1996 and will always fondly remember my time there - they did expand too fast though and bought up a lot of smaller retailers 10 years ago

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Jim144
By Jim144 (Jan 9, 2013)

In Oxford where I often shop, Jessops have 2 stores in the town centre about 5 mins walk from each other. Total waste of costs. And in Milton Keynes there are also two stores - one in the Centre MK and another in a dying, slightly out of town retail park. If they thought those were both sustainable ideas, then the management brought it on themselves.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 9, 2013)

That's the nature of buying-up independent camera stores (which is how Jessops grew). It could be worse - they had another branch on The High when I lived there.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
JackRoch
By JackRoch (Jan 9, 2013)

Two stores in the town where I live as well. The original one had been going for decades as an independent before being bought by Jessops. They were seething when the second one opened just round the corner literally within 100yards. They told me Jessops were operating the fast-food-franchise model of starting one store and when/if it became successful, opened a second to generate competition.

On the issue of competing with online stores: I bought my first Ixus from their online store - the name of which gave you no clue that it was owned by Jessops (or so I was told) - but undercut their bricks 'n' mortar store by 30%.

1 upvote
ciao_chao
By ciao_chao (Jan 9, 2013)

I wondered when this would happen. Jacobs going down should've been a clear warning to evolve. I think most of us photographers have enough business nouse to recognise that.

0 upvotes
ryrychung
By ryrychung (Jan 9, 2013)

It was sad to see Jacobs go into administration, and now Jessops. Both founded in Leicester as well and I hope it works out for them.

1 upvote
rajgedhu
By rajgedhu (Jan 9, 2013)

As a child, I visited both the original Jessops store and the original Cecil Jacobs store with my dad, who was also a photographer, in my home town of Leicester. And, as a teenager, I spent many a day in the Jessops Superstore on Hinckley Road. In the early eighties it was the biggest camera store in Europe. They had the full range of Nikon lenses on display, including fish-eyes that sold for over £4000, even in those days!

0 upvotes
FujiColy
By FujiColy (Jan 9, 2013)

Very sad, were do I go to try the latest cameras now?

0 upvotes
tinternaut
By tinternaut (Jan 9, 2013)

As Dilbert's mother once explained, gift vouchers are like money but not as good. Pity to be seeing them disappear off the high street.

1 upvote
racketman
By racketman (Jan 9, 2013)

Used to buy from them but eventually like many bought mainly online and their prices did not compete. I will still buy from specialists like Park Cameras whenever possible and will pay a 10% premium to be able to touch before I buy.
Shame about the job losses, it's tough out there.

3 upvotes
Fedupandenglish
By Fedupandenglish (Jan 9, 2013)

Now Park Cameras know how to run a camera store. I just like their operation and went to their Canon open day before buying my 5Diii.

1 upvote
57even
By 57even (Jan 9, 2013)

They also have an excellent online service and very good phone support.

1 upvote
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (Jan 9, 2013)

@racketman

Wow!!

Is that it?!!! Just 10%? That's the all, the premium you are willing to pay? I wonder what you do for a living. Ask yourself, what you think you would be worth if you were servicing me face to face as apposed to someone doing it online (assuming it was possible to do online).

It's that kinda meanness that makes it difficult for retail stores to survive.

0 upvotes
Mark H B Findlay
By Mark H B Findlay (Jan 9, 2013)

I hope that Park takes over Brighton's Jessops shop. Right now we have Dixons/Currys (does anyone buy anything from them?), Clocktower cameras (used equipment and odd bits but very useful and knowledgeable) ... or drive to Burgess Hill for Park Cameras. ACtually I have bought nearly all my cameras from Jessops - I just bided my time until they had a special offer that matched Park and then dived in. My latest was a 5d3 last September. They were hopeless for lenses though. Park Cameras every day unless Clocktower has something interesting.

I guess my Jessops warranty isn't much good but at least I registered with Canon. It's very sad for the staff; Brighton's retail is still good but has taken a hammering like everywhere else.

1 upvote
bigfatron
By bigfatron (Jan 10, 2013)

@plevyadophy

In which case what value were they adding to justify more than a 10% hike over the alternative sources? People will pay the extra if there is a benefit from paying it. Jessops for me didn't justify the premium they demanded.

And even 10% stacks up as quite alot of cash if you're buying higher end stuff. And if you're buying accessories/consumables then often Jessops were charging whole multiples of the price you could pay elsewhere. When was the last time you didn't wince at the price they wanted for a memory card?

0 upvotes
dgblackout
By dgblackout (Jan 9, 2013)

I feel sorry for the staff that work there but the upper management knew that they were fighting a losing battle. It was a turd that the market couldn't flush for a number of years and now they're as good as gone.

This will open up space on every major high street in the UK for small, independently run businesses. Or space for another branch of ladbrokes per town. We'll see.

0 upvotes
camerashopminion
By camerashopminion (Jan 9, 2013)

My money is on Ladbrokes. Boom boom!

3 upvotes
57even
By 57even (Jan 9, 2013)

Or Starbucks....

1 upvote
makofoto
By makofoto (Jan 9, 2013)

You would think that cell phone sales would cover loss of point and shoots ?

0 upvotes
BryMills
By BryMills (Jan 9, 2013)

Sad to see, but the high street stores simply can't compete with the tax dodging global internet marketplace.

11 upvotes
camerashopminion
By camerashopminion (Jan 9, 2013)

The dodgy dealers are indeed partly to blame, but so are the people who knowingly purchase their products - it might put a friendlier face on tax evasion, but if people didn't convince themselves it's ok then it wouldn't be such a problem.

2 upvotes
diplomat85
By diplomat85 (Jan 10, 2013)

Well said camerashopminion....bang on the money so to speak!

0 upvotes
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