Yesterday it was confirmed that Jessops, the photography company that has been on our high streets and retail parks for 80 years, is to go into administration.
Administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have said that all 2000 of it’s employees are at risk of losing their jobs, and that many of their 192 stores may have to close. As with Comet, they will be looking to sell the business as a going concern, but in an age where everyone with a printer, photo paper a decent digital can print quality photos, who would buy such a chain?
What was surprising to find out yesterday is that Jessops was provately owned, half by a pensions fund and half by a private investment hedge fund, if I’ve described those right. The worrying part is that a photography company was run by a group of people who had absolutely nothing to do with photography. It seems bonkers to me! Surely a high street business such as a photography chain needs some sort of knowledge and background in this field to help run it successfully?
Like Comet, I am going to say that I can’t see a buyer being found for Jessops. The products and services they sell can be found in various other places and in the home, for a lot cheaper. Like HMV, they haven’t adapted to the online world anywhere near quick enough, and it’s people’s change in spending habits that have caught them on the hop. You really cannot afford to just stand still in business when change is happening as quick as it is. Business models have to reflect the times that we are living in. At the moment, many high street stores are not doing that and it is predicted that 2013 will be another heavy year for chain closures.