Deathwatch - Jessops profits fail to develop

2 February 2009

Jessops probably doesn't belong on the retail Deathwatch list, but Andy accidentally dropped the old list in the bath, so we need to fill up a brand new one. A high street specialist camera shop feels a little superfluous when there are plenty of online counterparts, so it may not be a bad shout.

The company has just reported full-year losses of almost £50 million, hot on the heels of the first stumble encountered by the digital camera market in many years. According to Which? like-for-like sales fell 6.5 per cent in the year, although price cuts helped Jessops to a 3.8 per cent rise in the past two months, although it's thought sales would have dropped further if prices hadn't been cut. Jessop's market share also took a tumble, from 18.7 per cent to 15.9 per cent, a result of 81 stores closing in 2007.

How many of us use shops like Jessops to road-test the physical products and then order them online regardless? If that's the case, will Jessops continue to have a significant presence on the high street?

[Which?]

TOPICS:   High Street News

17 comments

  • Liddle m.
    "How many of us use shops like Jessops to road-test the physical products and then order them online regardless?" How many even do that? Isn't the trend towards checking multiple reviews online and then posting a few "what-do-you-think" questions on forums before ordering online?
  • Sam
    I heard they are revamping their online shops, look at the developing offers on at the moment!
  • Kristian
    “How many of us use shops like Jessops to road-test the physical products and then order them online regardless?” Even worse than that due to there bizzare pricing setup I test drive the product and then if it's the cheapest once I have applied online vouchers I then stand in the shop and order online using my phone 10 min later I then collect from the till... Utter Crazy bricks and morter stores need to realise that if they are prepared to be competitive online then ensuring pricing is consistent in store ensures a competitive advantage.
  • andy y.
    I like Jessops but they have a sniffy attitude problem to internet competitors which is destroying the customer base.It's easy "We will match prices of X,Y and Z, online or instore".Yes it will cost margin ,but a sale with £1 profit (and chance of selling an accessory at fat margin) beats no sale and pissed off potential customers. To survive you have to hustle.Jessops staff are mainly camera snobs who understand photography but not consumer haggling.
  • Honky S.
    Their web is good - I hope they survive... Would hate PCShite to take over...
  • br04dyz
    Would hate PCShite to take over… Jessops to my knowledge are part of DSGi no? IIRC, and according to the woman in jessops not 2 weeks ago.
  • chrisg.
    Interestingly, they're just about the cheapest place for a lot of lenses at the moment...
  • IRT
    In a way its yet another `woolies` scenario in that they embraced the concept of online shopping too late. Have to agree on the *Camera Snobs* comment too... Spot on!!! plus, 1st question they tend to ask is about your price range, anything under £100 they treat you with a wry derision.
  • Blondie
    Jessops are not part of DSGi....not even remotely! They were a family run business, until a management Buy Out and are now essentially owned by HSBC and Canon....since they owe Canon so much money. I worked for them for 9 years and was with them through the whole transition periods....it's a sad decline due to trying to be too many things to too many people and forgetting the core of their business. Which had they stuck to would haven enjoyed a more significant uptake in the digital SLR revolution. As for online their policy has been ludicrous from the beginning. Cameras2u was owned and run by them after they couldn't get rid of their Marketing Director so 90% of the time they were matching against themselves. A grand old case of Mis-management! If they are going to survive a serious downsize must be considered!
  • chrisg
    Basic problem: the margins on their camera bodies are very slim (as per all retailers), but the lenses/accessories offer far greater margins. Most people are savvy enough to buy bodies from them (for the B&M thing, and cashback from quidco), but look to better, cheaper retailers for the accessories. Therefore their entire business model is one based on making 1-3% on DSLRs and mid-range P&S. They should move more into the bundle deal thing, where they've got a better chance of convincing someone to go for an accessory or two.
  • Fred C.
    Whatever the explanation is about the service, customers and margins the fundamental problem is that the business was a management buy out (MBOs) and the MBO advisors have as always stripped a business of its core defence and resilience system against bigger swings in business turnover. So whereas a family run business has weathered the storms over decades it is unable to do so as a newbie with little shelter. When you compare this with the big shipping business where most of the big players are family run business the price of carrying cargo has dropped by 99% and they are still afloat carrying with their business as they have vast reserves and plenty of "fat" from the boom years. These weather businesses know how to set aside "fat" in their larder. Setting "fat" or anticipating an economic turnover is never featured in any MBO scheme in their projection of earning for the next 5 or even 10 years. The reason is that the companies which advises on MBO are also the administrators when a company goes bust. Boom they win and bust they win too.
  • Catalina M.
    Equipping hundreds of stores with a quickly depreciating stock of digital cameras leads to certain death. Online retailers need only one warehouse. A dual strategy with online and offline presence is difficult: Should Jesspos sell on the highstreet at the same low prices as online or would the online promotions be as expensive as the instore prices? What highstreet retailers need to do is to develop services (advice, after sales service, add ons, specialist printing) that will make people buy in store. Jessops has failed on this account with poorly educated sales staff, poor presentation and the absence of the services required.
  • Darren
    Here Here to Catalina... Jessops are so not competitive, I actually found Selfridges Camera Department cheaper than these guys... But it is true what some say, we do go and view the cameras at Jessops before we search for them online!
  • marian
    Any knowledgable staff of Jessops are being forced to leave. Jessops are now planning on cutting down on their experienced staff who are full time and replacing them with inexperienced staff who will only work 4 hours a day at peak times. This means any advantage they have over Currys and Argos and Online sales is totally diminished. They are hoping to replace staff with students who will not get paid Adult Minimum Wage. Photographers can look forward to being sold Nikon accessories for Canon Cameras and vice-versa. OLD DAY FOR JESSOPS WAS RACEHORSES BEING LED BY DONKEYS NOW ITS DONKEYS BEING LED BY MORE DONKEYS. THEY WILL BE SELLING PLATE CAMERAS NEXT MONTH. DV
  • affiliatecasinoprogramaholic
    You should try to search for the cause of this problem but not the method to due with it at this instant.
  • WorkatHomeOpportunitiesaholic
    You are really great in providing stories! Thank you!
  • simon d.
    or not if you look at http://www.bcc.co.uk/news/jessops

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