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Interview With Jessops At Launch Of New Store

Interview With Jessops At Launch Of New Store - We speak to Sean Emmett, Marketing and E-commerce Director at Jessops, about their newly relaunched New Oxford Street store and how Jessops are performing in the photography market.

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Brand Zones

1. Regarding the recent growth in sales, has this been as a result of the new Nikon / Canon DSLRs or is growth due to the increasing CSC market?

Yes growth has come about as the CSC market has grown, we have outperformed the market growth of 50%, and similarly in DSLRs +9%. We've also grown 30% in lenses, while entry level camera market is down 10%. This is due to a number of factors, such as smartphone cameras getting better, or users going to CSC or superzooms.

We've grown in accessories, introducing a new Tecno range of bags which have been popular as part of a bundle. We are pushing our photographic side as well, and remain a photographic retailer with regular customers. We will continue to offer both wet labs and dry labs. We also offer better locations these days, and are committed to the high street.
2. Do megapixels still sell cameras? For example, with the recently introduced 24 and 36 megapixel Nikon Digital SLRs?

It depends on the area you're talking about, for example Canon's HS cameras have a lower number of megapixels (10 or 12mp) and we are trained to speak to customers about the issues, explaining that the lower megapixel cameras like these are designed for better image quality. While top end customers want the higher resolution cameras because they are aware of the benefits of it. More megapixels is a good thing if people are buying it for the right reasons. 

Bridge Cameras

3. As the compact market appears to be in decline, for example with Kodak recently exiting the market, have you seen a drop in sales of compact camera models?

Compact cameras are down 10%, however Nikon has a strong range and has had growth in this area. It's under pressure from smart phones, and compacts are much improved in response to this with a lot of them featuring 10x optical zoom, something the smartphone can't offer. Bridge cameras are also an area that has remained popular and seen growth.
4. Is the mobile camera phone a threat?

We don't necessarily see them as a threat, but would see it as an area where we can grow. For example, using smartphones to print at photo kiosks, engaging with smartphone user so that in future if they want to learn how to improve image quality or step up then we would be their first choice. We're also looking to bring instragram photobooks in store. 
5. How do you compete with on-line retailers on cost, how do you attract customers?.

Added service. 70% of online orders are collected at store, where customers can collect within 20 minutes if they item is in stock, instead of having to wait for delivery. We can also offer bundles at a good price as well as give guidance on how to use the camera, setting the camera up for them if needed. This is a key point of difference and can be much quicker than a customer having to spend time studying the manual at home. There is the further benefit of being able to try bags for size, as well as tripods in our Centres Of Excellence.
6. How has the economic downturn affected Jessops?

GFK figures for the last 12 months show a 19% drop in consumer electronics, and 6% drop in photo industry - however during this time Jessops share has grown to 12%, from 9% 2 years ago. We have consistent growth in market share. We have trained staff, and the introduction of sophisticated premium cameras has helped boost the market. Another of our strengths is that customers are able to try and compare cameras in store.

7. Do you see the UK public as being affected, particularly when it comes to purchase of expensive cameras? Would you say that the UK is shielded from the more recent Euro-zone issues?

Jessops traded well even when there was an economic downturn. The public wants to buy from a trusted retailer. Interest free finance with specific brands (Sony/Canon currently) helps people buy in this financial period. Consumer confidence is affected indirectly by the euro-zone crisis, but again we would hope this would drive buyers to us as a trusted brand. 

Samsung NX200
8. Have the Jessops Wakefield and Bournemouth stores recently closed? Is there any reason for this?

Yes, they have closed. We are improving the quality of our estate, and earnings of our store portfolio. When a stores lease comes to an and, it is an opportunity to review profitability, and we are normally able to relocate staff. In 2010 there were 25 store movements / relocations or refurbs. In 2011, 23, and in 2012 we are planning 26 in total. Internet hasn't replaced the high street.
9. Do you see your market share increasing, particularly after Jacobs has been having problems?

It's not good news seeing a family run business close. We are expecting growth, but not linked to this. An increase in sales and market share planned through both online and retail as part of Jessops continued business plan. 

10. Is there any truth in the rumours of Canon investing in Jessops?

No, both companies involved have denied this. Our recently disclosed financial results can be seen, and all is well at Jessops.

11. Can you explain more about your photo legacy service?

This will be introduced in a couple of weeks time. You can bring photos into store. This will use a secure courier service to take the film or photos to a remote location to be scanned, the originals are then returned and the customer can view images online digitally so they can print (online) or collect instore. Ideal for people wishing to make photo gifts, or share with friends. It's a secure service that is password protected. 

Studio Express
12. Will the future of Jessops include more Centres of Excellence?

We have 7 centres of excellence, with another 3 planned this year, giving 10 in total, the idea is to have national coverage so that these photographic hubs are available to the country without having to travel too far.

13. What is the difference between a normal store and a CofE store?
The difference between the normal store which is around 1000 square feet is that the CofE is around 3-4000 square feet, and offers: 
  • More hardware
  • Better range / colour options
  • Top end kit
  • Lenses and accessories
  • More specialist items such as tripods (GITZO, manfrotto, velbon, jessops etc)
  • Bag room in each store with lowepro, manfrotto, crumpler exclusive range
  • Broader range of photo products
  • Wall art / send away
  • Studio express (from £7.99 for a studio session) and normal prices for prints - eg canvas from £10 - walk in service sponsored by Canon, so using Canon 7D, L lenses, etc ideal for a last minute Christmas present
  • Academy
  • Specialist camera courses
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