No more Jessops…

…for me anyway. I worked my last shift for the company yesterday. It came as no surprise when I heard that they had announced they were closing 81 stores and cutting 550 jobs today. I spent my last day packing up stock to be sent back to the warehouse, no-one had any idea how they might get rid of it. It was largely accessories for film based photography so I guess they are are looking for specialist shop somewhere, although it carried the Jessops branding. Perhaps they are going to keep it for posterity hoping the value will increase in the future with a possible analogue photography revival? No, their need for the cash is more urgent than that.

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I have been working for the company twenty months as a sales assistant and lab assistant part-time. I have seen it go from a confident company planning add to its store portfolio of well over 250 stores to announcing profit warnings, cutting staff hours and problems with stock. So how did a company with so much photographic retail pedigree and perfectly placed to capitalise on the popularity of digital cameras go so wrong? Internet and supermarket sales we are told. Supply problems with the most popular brands of cameras have also been blamed. While I am sure that this is the case it is not as if they did not know about internet sites’ potential threat. They could have acted more positively and sooner.

Besides, while it is understandable that they have been concentrating on reducing costs, basic problems have contributed to the company’s downturn in fortune. Cutting staff leads to annoyed customers who get frustrated and will go elsewhere. Understaffing also leaves the stores vulnerable to theft. This has happened in the store I work at on several occasions in recent months, costing the company thousands of pounds and potentially putting the staff at risk.

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However, one unforgivable problem with Jessops is their lack of training. Knowledge of photography is not considered necessary when hiring and staff are not trained about the products. I learnt informally from a colleague who was very knowledgeable because I asked lots of questions. Others are not so keen to learn. Often the wrong information is given to customers. This is not acceptable and particularly so when they are spending hundreds of pounds on a new camera. Revenue has certainly been lost as a result of this. Further more basic introductory training including health and safety is lacking. I was given ‘welcome training’ over six months after joining the company.

It seems to me that Jessops is stuck in limbo between internet retailers without the overheads of shops and staff and smaller companies that offer more specialist equipment and superior service. The company agrees to match the price of any UK stores on SLRs and lenses to lure savvy customers and this must be a strain financially. The profit on cameras is negligible. They have concentrated more on printing photographs where there are greater profits but problems with the kiosks instore and failure to deliver ‘photogifts’ on time frustrates customers. There is room for growth here I imagine but there will surely be more competition in the future. With few knowledgeable staff and a reluctance to stock specialist equipment Jessops is also alienating the enthusiast and professional photographer. This confusion over the focus for Jessops is evident on their website where it now sells all sorts of electrical goods such as TVs. Do we need another Dixons/Curry’s Digital? The only thing I think is certain about the future of Jessops is that it is distinctly uncertain.

(Please note that opinions expressed are opinions, nothing more.)

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~ by peterdarch on June 21, 2007.

5 Responses to “No more Jessops…”

  1. Like you i have been told today that my store is also to be shut, we’ll be packing up and turning into a clearance store for the remainder of our time be that days, or weeks, (still haven’t really been told anything yet…. which is typical jessops,
    i have been with the company for 3 years as lab supervisor and more recently deputy manager, the first 2 and a half years were fantastic, but the last six months has been nothing short of depressing.
    good luck to everyone else who is loosing their job i hope you find alternitive employment soon.
    To the board and those in power thankyou for destroying what used to be a profitable and respected company

  2. I’m sorry to hear you’re losing your job Alex, and everyone else too. I should point out I am not losing my job, I decided to leave a while ago. As far as I know the shop I worked in is not going to be closed. Lets hope that the directors manage to turn things around and no more people have to lose their jobs. Good luck in the future.

  3. i left jessops about 6weeks ago, i was assistant manager and did not like the way things were heading so i jumped ship so to speak. i had worked for the company for 7 years and it used to be a fab company to work for but the cuts in staffing and as someone else has said the lack of training for new staff was disgusting. they seemed to want to forgo the knowledgeable staff which made our name for the sake of cheaper labour.
    i have found out today my old store is to close and had distraught members of my team on the phone. my heart is with all the staff that after so many years are being left behind

  4. Hello, I also got told today my store is closing, but thats all ive have been told, don’t know if it will turn to a clearance shop, or will it just close? My personal opinion is that the company deserve it, its been heading in this direction for well over 6 months. I’m just annoyed and angry (how its all happened) for all you out there (like myself) who has lost there jobs! Good luck guys!… x

  5. Hope the business burns in hell. never worked for such a bad company

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