Phil MeekinView Profile
Specialists should be sought to provide a range of recovery strategies.
The camera chain Jessops is the first high profile retail casualty of 2013 as an application for Administration was filed on Wednesday. It is such a shame that a once successful business founded by Frank Jessop in 1935 will probably not be with us for much longer.
Jessops is Britain’s only specialist nationwide camera retailer with nearly 200 stores and has almost 2000 employees. It seems inevitable that there will be store closures and job losses. I just wonder what will be left on the high street if this trend continues. When will businesses utilise the opportunities provided to them and take some bold steps to ensure that they survive and prosper? Retailers need to provide long term job security for their employees and offer the buying public the product and service that they desire.
This is yet another sorry story of too little action too late. Retailers do not seem to have learnt the lessons with the demise of Game or Comet in the recent past. Jessops was in dire financial health back in 2007. At this time the company sought to become more profitable, but focused primarily on reducing costs via store closures. In 2009 the business was in a worse state and was rescued by it’s main lender HSBC. Recently the business revamped it’s stores and implemented the use of “play-tables” to enable customers to look at the cameras. These changes have just not been enough to revitalise it’s fortune.
Time and time again we hear vast sums of funding are provided to an ailing business but to no avail. Within a few years the business still fails.
Directors entrusted to turn around a business need to be bold and adventurous. Specialists should be sought to provide a range of recovery strategies. It may be that if Jessops had focused on their on-line retailing at an earlier stage and increased their product range to include the retail of camera phones they would not be in the position that they find themselves in today.
I wonder when will it be that Directors take responsibility for their actions? In general, directors remain handsomely recompensed, even during the “bad-times”. Yet it is the employee who is the last to be informed the business is on it’s last legs. Employees are left high and dry worrying whether they will still have a job or whether they should seek alternative employment as soon as possible. It is difficult enough to find alternative employment in the current job market, doubly so when you are in competition with huge numbers of your former colleagues.
The other big loser as usual is the consumer. Jessops is continuing to trade and the shops are open, but the Administrators are not currently honoring vouchers or accepting returned goods. Why should the consumer lose out yet again?
Let’s hope that lessons are being learned and that retailers will look at all options to save their company.
Author: Jackie Alsop