Jessops – why?

Just why Jessops failed has been put down to a number of factors.

This article repeats itself but says it was the suppliers tightening credit terms.

This article says it was the poor knowledge and level of service in the stores. It is anecdotal about experiences in a London shop but in comments, some elsewhere in the UK backed that up and some disagreed, particularly Jessops employees.

Shopping has changed to more online after Amazon, the recession has got people jittery, e.g. suppliers and there are a hell of a lot of poor employees.   But there are some very good ones.

Some blame the High Street in general.  One commenter wrote:

At the end of the day, they grew too big to cope with actually training their teams properly – on products that no longer have great profit margins to cover the huge expense of those teams and premises.

He asked why they overcharged on memory cards.


H/T haiku

7 comments for “Jessops – why?

  1. john in cheshire
    January 24, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    James, from my experience of Jessops; which I have to say from an assistant perspective was not bad (manchester branch) because they gave the impression of liking photography and cameras – still and movie. But, Jessops was hopelessly at variance on price. That was the killer. I could get the advice/guidance on the internet as well as the lower prices. I’m afraid that I’ve bought two movie cameras and a still camera and 2 out of 3 were bought on the internet; hell, I’ve bought a new car on the internet, that’s how adventurous I am. Cost is the decider in just about every transaction as far as I’m concerned and until the high street learns the new paradigm that the internet has introduced, they’ll continue to haemhorrage stores. For the multi-store concerns, the internet is the basis and the local store is what you provide when there is a business case to provide it. Shame, but that’s how it will be, until our fascist governments imposte restrictions on internet usage.

  2. January 24, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    I read the PC pro article when it was posted and it reminded me very much my experience in what was one of their new concept flagship stores:

    In stark contrast to that experience, I have nothing but praise for my local store. It is their expertise and knowledge whilst buying my camera that made me wary of what I was being told when I was buying the lens.

  3. Andrew
    January 24, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    I don’t believe the first article.

    Jessops worked hand-in-hand with its suppliers.It was a big UK outlet for companies like Nikon and Canon and it was very much in there interest to keep it going. And they did help out as much as they reasonably could (for example, Nikon sponsored the staff uniform, another company, can’t remember who, sponsored the training, etc.).

    The second article is an artificially created problem that’s plagued the company for at least eight years:

    The performance of the sales staff wasn’t measured by profit but by percentages of extras sold with the camera. The goals were you had to sell 40% of the value of the camera in “add ons”, such as a case, a memory card, a tripod, etc. And you also had to sell a warranty 30% of the time.

    So whoever runs through any £1000+ transaction with nothing but a camera is going to have their figures skewed for the week. And not hitting your targets would lead to a disciplinary meeting with the area manager.

    Ultimately meaning it’s not worth the hassle to sell high-end gear, because your job’s on the line. And so staff didn’t. In the bigger branches like London it’s easy for the staff just to disappear until the customer walks away, but in the smaller shops staff used to resort to lying to customers to get rid of them.

    If you want to know why Jessops failed, all you have to do is look at the senior management over the last ten years or so.

  4. January 25, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Must say that was most interesting [comments]. Cherie’s experience seems the same as others, whilst the inability to compete on price and the nature of management’s imposed “targets” are other aspects.

    On targets, where I work imposes what I see as ridiculous targets. Whilst new, well priced stock is the critical factor, along with shop image, that can only get a certain amount of footfalls. If it’s snowing or after New Year when the credit card blues begin and for many other local reasons, takings can widely vary. There’s even if I’m alone or with my partner – takings are always better with her.

    It’s not the shop which imposes the targets – it’s some central office a long way away which imagines these numbers would be lovely and turns them into binding targets involving disciplinary meetings if not met. I shuddered to read about having to sell 40% add-ons and so on. There’s no way I’d push that although I’d obviously suggest them as part of the whole deal.

    As for staff who don’t care and talk amongst themselves in a corner, I’d complain about them immediately to head office, with names. The whole reason they’re there is to assist [and not hard sel].

  5. Greg Tingey
    January 25, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Targets from central mis-management?
    That explains it in one, then!

    There’s a pubco chain ( Stonegate Pubs ) who have decided that ALL of their pubs with car parks must have a “Pay-&-Display” ticket machine £2 – which you get back as soon as you order a drink or food ….
    slight set of problems.
    If someone is buying a round & others have also come by car, how do they get theor money back?
    After dark you can’t see the bloody machine (the barman told me about it, becaus I hadn’t seen it) then you need a torch to get the money IN …
    And it’s mis-managed by a contract firm who will try to fine you if you haven’t bought a ticket ….
    & the bar-staff hate it & it’s driving customers away & …
    I complained to head office & got the usual Brit management brush-off “We know best”


    • January 25, 2013 at 10:01 am

      Yep, a lot of items come through to my email about British mismanagement but it’s not only the Brits. The contract firm is the worst aspect of what you write – that’s a guarantee of brusqueness and “this is what we’re paid to do – heavy you.”

      Driving customers away and all for an idea some idiot got into his head.

  6. wiggiatlarge
    January 25, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Both articles are right but other factors are also to blame in the demise of Jessops.
    Jessops was in it’s family owned days the premier chain for photographic gear in the country, knowledgable staff great stock and matching service, that was sadly a long time ago.
    When the family sold out the bean counters moved in and reduced the company to another streamlined high st store that had no appeal above any other plus it expanded beyond its compass it rapidly with plus the advent of online retailing which it at that time did not embrace started losing money at a large rate .
    Several attempts to turn it round have not stopped it losing money (believed to be in the region of £4 million last year) and its bank HSBC that in effect owned the company was itself unable to get even further credit from long suffering suppliers one of whom pulled the I believe, sad for what they were, not sad for what they had become.

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