Jessops In Trouble

I first saw this news on my Twitter feed yesterday. UK photographic retailer Jessops had entered administration putting 2000 jobs at risk while administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers tries to find a buyer for the stores. Unlike in America, Britain does not have Bankruptcy protection so if buyers are not found the shops will close.

At present Jessops will not be accepting gift vouchers or returns but this may change as the administrators continue looking for a buyer.

This is not the first time Jessops has come to the edge, in 2009 it was close to closing until HSBC agreed to take a 47% stake in the company in exchange for writing off £34m of Debt. The CEO Trevor Moore left last year left the company to go to HMV (music and video retailer) and the Chairman David Adams has also left.

For me Jessops was an odd shop when I lived in the UK. It was at a time when digital was really picking up and film was slowly dwindling in the eye of the consumer. Jessops were also not always the cheapest and in my experience and in more recent times has not had the expertise in store that I would expect. These are of course my experiences.

Some have said that the downfall for Jessops was the fact that consumers are becoming savvier. They can see a price in the shop and then they can see a price on the internet. Some have claimed people would go to the shop try out a camera and then it buy online cheaper. Although I agree that the internet is great (here I am on it) sometimes having the face to face relationship is an advantage especially when a camera breaks or stops working. You can easily take it back to the shop and get a new camera or have your camera repaired.

Bronica123 Commented on the guardian.co.uk

I am a manager of a small branch of Jessops, and my little store is (was, or may continue to be, who knows?) doing a roaring trade.  There’s been lots of talk on the news about where Jessops went wrong. But in my opinion it did not put a foot wrong. The new team that took over back in 2009 did all it could to embrace the new consumer habits, with a real push on the buy on line then collect at store process.  Jessops never made money on hardware, and always treated cameras as loss leaders in order to get the customer in the shop so we could sell the margin rich products like memory cards, bags and the like.  There was a huge emphasis on the photo printing side of the business, with large format in store printing now widely available, very cheap and of superb quality.  My store does well because we were very ‘local’, and as manager I was able to aknowledge that the customer could by cheaper on line, while gently reminding them that a comprehensive aftercare was worth paying that little bit extra for…..If anyone is to blame it is the modern consumer WHO KNOWS THE COST OF EVERYTHING, BUT THE VALUE OF NOTHING!
Sorry for shouting; it’s been a rather stressful day.

Maybe the consumer are to blame but then again with most consumers being pushed to the brink financially at the moment can you blame them for wanting to get the best deal they can. Distance printing has been around for many years and with people favouring niche products like, cups, mouse mats and tee-shirts ect being printed with their photos. I think for Jessops the competition was already there with a huge market dominance when they entered this market late.

For me the departure of Jessops would leave an interesting hole in the British high street. Jessops was the high street photography retailer with them now gone it paves the way for more local shops to spread their wings and retake their place.

Jessops was first operated as a photography shop in 1935 by Frank Jessop after previously being a chemist. The business grew and the torch was passed onto Allan Jessop and the store moved to a new 20,000 sq. foot shop that was named the Largest Photographic Shop in the world by the Guinness Book of Records. In the 1980’s the company grew still opening 50 new shops in Britain. In 1996 as Alan Jessop retired the company was sold in a management buyout. By the middle of the noughties (00’s) the company was having difficulties in competing with online retailers which, has led to the events yesterday after final talks between the directors, financial backers and suppliers collapsed.

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