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Jessops News & Insight

Is Photography Dying? The UK’s largest camera retailer is at least! ¦ Wednesdays with Leo

By Leo Hoang on January 9th 2013


Jessops is the UK’s largest retailer in camera equipment with just under 200 stores across the country.

It has been said that the main causes for the company going into administration is due to intense competition from online retailers and mobile phone technology.

With camera phones improving their technology, everyone effectively has a camera in their pocket which is definitely taking away from the ‘point and shoot’ market, and with aggressive pricing competition with online specialist retailers, it is hard to keep up profits to maintain high street stores.

The general view of most high street retailers is that they’re overpriced against the online retailers, which in some cases is very true. I have seen cameras that were 20% more expensive in the store, than they were online.

However, the Jessops website was always competing with the other online retailers with their online prices, and it seems that a lot of consumers simply assumed Jessops would be overpriced due to what they had seen in store.

I regularly checked their prices online as I was always keeping my eye out on the trending prices of camera equipment, so I know first-hand they were not as bad as people thought.

So due to the dying demand of point and shoot cameras and the stigma of being overpriced for higher end DSLR’s, Jessops have unfortunately made too much of a big loss in 2012 to justify continuing business.
With a turnover of £236m in 2012 and no profits stated publicly at the moment, I fear the amount of losses is astronomical.

As a photographer based in the UK, I am sad to see the stores go out of business. Not only due to being a photographer who has a love for almost anything photography related, but more so for the 2000 job losses this will create.

This is definitely an unfortunate event here in the UK.

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Leo Hoang is a professional photographer based in London who shoots Weddings, Events and Real-Estate.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ryan Daley

    eh I get so annoyed with the “is photography dying” headlines. Technology is advancing, more people now than ever are taking and sharing photos. Being it with the beginner DSLR’s on the market now or your iphone and instagram, we are in a renaissance of technology and photography. Even film cameras, which digital all but killed up until a few years ago is making a come back. Photography is alive now more than ever and brick and mortar shops are closing because the marketplace has changed. 

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    • Leo Hoang

      Hi Ryan, apologies if you’re not keen on the headline. However it is somewhat a question some may ask seeing as one of the largest UK camera retailers is closing down. Unfortunately it’s not just a few stores, as a company they may disappear. You are right though, it is the market place, and I agree with you completely. Mobile Phone are advancing, which in effect is giving more and more people less reasons to go out and purchase a camera, so with less people buying cameras, it could seem to some people as if “Photography is dying”, however to us Photographers, we know it’s alive and well…

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  2. -gbp

    Well, I was in the UK last week and went to Jessops for a couple of lightstands.  ‘Don’t have those”   I was told.  Neither did London Camera, who also didn’t have simple 9V batteries.

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    • Leo Hoang

      I struggle to find what I need in store as well. Because the company has infact struggled since 2009, they have had spending cut backs and a lot of the Pro level equipment was only sold upon order. The company did not do themselves any favors by stocking less stock. It may have appeared better on paper in terms of their finances, however in the scope of things they just damaged their names further by not satisfying customer requirements. So as a result, they just delayed them closing down in 2009.

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  3. HoManCheung

    maybe if shops like asda and boots didn’t go into the photopriting business they might’ve still had a life line in the UK, but even then it’d just postpone this outcome

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    • Leo Hoang

      Unfortunately retailers such as Asda and Boots make their profits elsewhere so having a side line print operation they can be competitve with their pricing, or even at times, simply undercut!It’s such a shame it’s all worked out this way. However, it does happen all the time, and that’s business for you. Competition left, right and center. Jessops did hurt themselves by not stocking a lot of gear. From experience, their prices were not too bad, as I did “Buy and Reserve” more than half my equipment with them. This allowed me to collect and pay in store at Web Price! However, there were times when I needed something quickly and they could not provide due to low stock levels. But that’s just mainly due to them not wanting to hold too many assetts on site to be more ‘profitable’. However, they did just shoot themselves in the foot as they had no stock to sell to make a profit.

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