High Street camera retailer, Jessops, announced that it has gone into administration after almost 80 years of business. Founded in 1935 in Leicester, the retailer that specialises in selling cameras and related products currently has 192 stores across the UK. It is now set to close a fair amount of them as their core marketplace has declined significantly in the past few years.

Growth of ecommerce websites still impacting high street retailers

Competition from supermarkets and ecommerce websites in particular, that can match their product offerings at more competitive prices, has made it difficult for the high street retailer to generate the profits they predicted. With supermarkets enjoying great economies of scale and ecommerce websites having the benefit of not paying for the maintenance of physical stores; traditional retailers like Jessops are unable to maintain the same amount of regular custom that they did in previous years, before the ecommerce boom.

Despite their reputation for quality service and additional funding to keep the company afloat, Jessops starts the new year on a sour note. However they are not the first casualty of ecommerce and supermarket competition. In 2012, Comet, Clinton Cards, JJB Sports and Game Group were some of the most notable high street stores to go into administration.

All the blame for Jessops current situation however cannot all be placed on ecommerce websites and supermarkets. The demand for cameras has decreased in recent years as more people own smartphones that feature high quality cameras and video recording. For people who do not actively pursue photography as a career or hobby, there is no great need to invest in a new camera when their phone takes pictures just as well. 

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been appointed as Jessops’ administrator and at present, reviews of the company’s financial position are taking place. Time will tell if the UK will lose another high street retailer.

One alternative option Jessops could take to remain operating is to continue solely as an online retailer. Their time on the high street has already allowed them to establish a great reputation, so by operating an ecommerce website they can potentially be in a better position to offer more competitive prices for their products and begin to recover.

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