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Author Topic: Jessops camera chain in administration  (Read 4530 times)
NickyTaylorphoto
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« on: January 09, 2013, 10:38:59 AM »
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Another big chain bites the dust.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20958659

Just as I thought the world was coming out of the recession.

Cry
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2013, 10:59:16 AM »
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'Tis a shame. We'll be left with just a London Camera Centre shop in Taunton. Lack of competition isn't going to be a good thing.

I've made a point of supporting local shops, even where they are chain-stores, rather than on-line vendors. My camera/lens purchases have been from LCC, Jessops, Grays of Westminster, and nothing on-line. I suspect too many people use Jessops to look over a camera, then purchase from the interwebz. Additionally, the demise of film has reduced much of the turnover too.
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NickyTaylorphoto
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2013, 11:08:37 AM »
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My go to store for the last few years when in london has been london camera exchange a family owned business on the strand. Although I think they may have grown a lot in the last year or so.

Jessops was great while going to college to get my ilford paper and liquid emulations. 
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2013, 11:39:08 AM »
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Just as I thought the world was coming out of the recession.
I don't think the recession is fully to blame in this case.
Jessops have been on the edge since internet retailing became widely available.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2013, 12:05:09 PM »
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They didn't try that hard to be honest, never were competitive, over the past 5 years the service has been awful in general.
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2013, 12:48:40 PM »
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I suspect that it's not really Jessops to blame, but more a general decline in consumer interest for higher-grade photography. One lass interviewed in the street, on the news today, said that she gets perfect photographs from her iphone... what can you say? Were I not interested in print and selling, then I'd stick with my Samsung cellphone too. For Internet and most general stuff, especially note-taking, it's perfect. What more does anyone need?

I doubt any local photographic shop could now long survive from just the average amateur in the average town. The small Scottish specialist who used to supply all my Nikon and Hasselblad equipment (he also handled Leica) eventually found himself forced out of 'blad because, according to him, he coudn't get new cameras from them at the prices people in London could retail at! That's not right; any lower prices when buying from chains should come from their internal savings from economy of scale, not because they can buy cheaper from source than the small man selling exactly the same item. It stinks. The business eventually had to go downmarket, and now it's long gone. Great. In Palma de Mallorca, my wholesaler, a branch of a larger Barcelona company, has folded after 30 years that I've known and used them.

I think what we really see today isn't business, but the jungle.

Rob C
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 12:50:23 PM by Rob C » Logged

jeremypayne
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2013, 12:58:16 PM »
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he coudn't get new cameras from them at the prices people in London could retail at! That's not right; any lower prices when buying from chains should come from their internal savings from economy of scale, not because they can buy cheaper from source than the small man selling exactly the same item. It stinks.

Nope ... what would REALLY stink would be any kind of attempt to legislate or regulate prices like you are suggesting.
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Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2013, 01:12:10 PM »
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Nope ... what would REALLY stink would be any kind of attempt to legislate or regulate prices like you are suggesting.




Well, that's your opinion and mine is different. I happen to like level playing fields.

Rob C
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2013, 01:19:58 PM »
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They didn't try that hard to be honest, never were competitive, over the past 5 years the service has been awful in general.
This sort of comment is part of their downfall, people on the internet talking them down.

The last digital camera I bought came from Jessops, I might have been able to get it a few quid cheaper online, but if it had a problem needing return  I would have been out of pocket on the cost of returning it.
A friend bought his D800 from the Windsor branch last week, maybe he could have saved a little by buying online but he liked the idea of buying genuine UK stock and not having to wait around for couriers etc.

Sure service in the shops can be variable, but there are some also very helpful and knowledgeable people behind some of the Jessops counters. I feel very sorry for them if they'll loose their jobs. Compared to some other retail sectors I think Jessops staff and service was quite satisfactory.
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jeremypayne
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2013, 01:26:41 PM »
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Well, that's your opinion and mine is different. I happen to like level playing fields.
Rob C

So you never negotiated the prices for your services?

If you did a small, one-off job for one client did that automatically determine the price you would charge someone who gave you 50% of your annual business for 5 years?


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RFPhotography
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2013, 05:30:03 PM »
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Socialism has never been, and never will be, a good business model, Rob.  There are all kinds of reasons why volume discounts are offered.  Those economies of scale you talk about apply at the manufacturer/wholesale level just as at the retail level.  Why shouldn't it be OK for manufacturers/wholesalers to pass those savings on but it is all right for retailers?
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2013, 01:07:13 AM »
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It may be worth pointing out the obvious here. It's not just about selling price of big items. As Jessops were the biggest UK photographic retailer, they were capable of buying in the greatest bulk and negotiating the lower wholesale prices.
It's all to do with overheads and profit.
It's easy for a couple of guys to rent an office and set up as a discount box shifter, utilising fast couriers to ship direct from wholesalers to customers without the product ever actually being in their hands. It's also very much easier now to do personal imports from outside the UK that avoid UK tax.

The somewhat ironic point here is that Jessops came to prominence in the 1970s as a discount mail order operation which the UK's photographic retailers found very difficult to compete with. As the shops struggled, Jessops bought them up to build up to where they are(were?) now.

Unfortunately Jessops, like other specialist retailers, have been caught by change in the public buying habits. The ease of shopping around and finding the cheapest price by the internet for major items and mass market electronic products now sold in the local supermarket.
The market for bread and butter products of photographic retailing are now shopping trolley items, film(memory cards), printing, batteries and low end cameras. Most camera shops relied on these lower value, high volume, high margin items to keep afloat, with that revenue stream gone, they're stuffed.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2013, 02:26:18 AM »
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This sort of comment is part of their downfall, people on the internet talking them down.


In which case it was richly deserved. They had some of the best buying power in the UK but were never ever competitive. Jacobs always had better prices and so did my local pro shop. Warehouse Express ate their lunch and deservedly so. I gave my business where possible to my local shop, My money still went to a UK retailer but not one trying to rip me off, one of the workers there was ex-Jessops and had little praise to give. I used to do my wedding printing at a Jessops shop where I knew the guy running the machines, he had 20 years experience and really knew his stuff. His opinion was that management were using the Jessops name to play with the share prices and were very happy to run the shops into the ground.

Their downfall was due to democracy, the public chose not to be ripped off any longer helped by the fact that due to the internet they could now find out just how much they were being ripped off. Fine with me. I'm sorry for the employees as well as the employees at Jacobs (also went bust recently) who always seemed far better informed and polite but have zero pity for the management who have lost them their jobs.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 02:35:06 AM by Ben Rubinstein » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2013, 09:00:07 AM »
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Socialism? Me? Good grief, you guys have no idea of what you speak: I hate where that concept has led Britain.

But making comparisons with one small snapper (myself) and the rate for my work which, as ever, is always different job to job because I donít do the same thing twice, has nothing to do with the shifting of thousands of identical products in boxes, which is what new cameras are. False analogy for you chaps to have made.

Youíre probably too young to remember, but in the mid-sixties, prices for a Hasslblad 500C were standard across the board: the thing was about 320 pounds or so anywhere you went in Britain; it even said so on the ads! Clearly, the sensible thing was to buy from the local man who was always there to return anything that might be faulty (never happened to me in those days, from Nikons to Hasselblads), was there when routine servicing was thought necessary and there was no need to package like for a moon shot, worry about postage etc. because heíd do all of that or handle it via the H rep, everything insured.

We have lost a helluva lot of caring people who were absolutely there to help us, because in so doing they were helping themselves. I miss things like that. Itís not just cameras: itís endemic in life now: nobody cares a fig for anyone else Ė itís greed, self and bugger the rest. Maybe thatís the socialism of which some speak?

The current sense of Ďbargain huntingí should stay rooted in Christmas Sales and never intrude into the normal aspects of real, everyday life where service, quality and dependability count. In the end, we get what we deserve: cameras that are rubbish from the first click, lenses that donít focus, batteries that die after fifty shots. Thatís the bright and brave new world some have wished upon us. You canít drive prices ever downwards and not see something, somewhere, have to collapse. Everything needs margins that allow it to function.

The abolition of retail Price Maintenance was a frigginí disaster waiting to happen, which it did.

Rob C
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 09:01:56 AM by Rob C » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2013, 09:08:38 AM »
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In which case it was richly deserved. They had some of the best buying power in the UK but were never ever competitive. Jacobs always had better prices and so did my local pro shop. Warehouse Express ate their lunch and deservedly so. I gave my business where possible to my local shop, My money still went to a UK retailer but not one trying to rip me off, one of the workers there was ex-Jessops and had little praise to give. I used to do my wedding printing at a Jessops shop where I knew the guy running the machines, he had 20 years experience and really knew his stuff. His opinion was that management were using the Jessops name to play with the share prices and were very happy to run the shops into the ground.

Their downfall was due to democracy, the public chose not to be ripped off any longer helped by the fact that due to the internet they could now find out just how much they were being ripped off. Fine with me. I'm sorry for the employees as well as the employees at Jacobs (also went bust recently) who always seemed far better informed and polite but have zero pity for the management who have lost them their jobs.



That's fanciful, Ben! Just think about it: how does anyone know what the 'right' price might be? With all the different buying prices from the manufacturers for the same product that your side of the argument espouses, there can be no 'right' price. It's a contradiction. Nothing to do with democracy at all.

Rob C

P.S. As for believing anything an ex-employee has to say about company policy and shareholders, that's even more fanciful.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 09:12:50 AM by Rob C » Logged

jeremypayne
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« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2013, 09:21:30 AM »
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Itís not just cameras: itís endemic in life now: nobody cares a fig for anyone else Ė itís greed, self and bugger the rest.

Rob ... I've said it before, I'll say it again ... what has changed far more than the world is YOU.

You suffer from the worst case of "Golden Age" syndrome I've ever seen.
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2013, 09:35:40 AM »
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I have always spent my (substantial amounts of) money at local retailers and rarely online for cameras.  Back in the 90's I used Jessops a lot and they seemed very geared up to the professional and enthusiast market.  The staff were knowledgable and prices competitive.  Then at some point in the digital era, they decided to expand massively the number of stores and jump on the compact camera market.  In some towns they had two stores.  They also changed ownership and floated on the Stock Market.  Instead of the shops being there for the enthusiast photographer, they were selling mass stocks of relatively cheap cameras to Joe public.  Joe public does not care excessively about long term service when price comes into it and gradually more were buying online.  So in my opinion Jessops as a business became too greedy, expanded trying to make more profit, and then fell flat on their faces when the market for compact cameras started drying up.  More recently I perceived them trying to attract the enthusiasts again, but too late - they have found other dealers (in my case the London Camera Exchange).  This is no criticism of the shop staff who are often very good, just the way the people pulling the strings have destroyed the chain.
I feel sorry for the staff but no sympathy at all with the business.  I understand that businesses need to make a profit - I run one myself.  But it was greed and a belief in rapid growth that bought this one down.  It was unsustainable.

This is just the way I see it - I stand to be corrected if I completely misunderstand the situation.

Jim
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KLaban
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« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2013, 10:29:54 AM »
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Rob ... I've said it before, I'll say it again ... what has changed far more than the world is YOU.

Are you sure you've got that around the right way? You really think Rob has changed more than the world?
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2013, 10:49:14 AM »
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Youíre probably too young to remember, but in the mid-sixties, prices for a Hasslblad 500C were standard across the board: the thing was about 320 pounds or so anywhere you went in Britain; it even said so on the ads! Clearly, the sensible thing was to buy from the local man who was always there to return anything that might be faulty (never happened to me in those days, from Nikons to Hasselblads), was there when routine servicing was thought necessary and there was no need to package like for a moon shot, worry about postage etc. because heíd do all of that or handle it via the H rep, everything insured.

Rob C


Yeah, they've got a term for that.  It's called price fixing.  It's illegal.
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2013, 10:58:41 AM »
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Yeah, they've got a term for that.  It's called price fixing.  It's illegal.

Strange then that I must pay the same price for my newspaper, wherever I happen to buy it.
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