Sadly what was once a great photographic retailer has gone (or is going) the way that many of it’s customers have forecast. I remember Jessops of Leicester from the late 1970s and early 1980s when it was probably one of the most successful photographic retailers in the UK. The staff were knowledgeable and helpful, their pricing was highly competitive and their mail order service almost unbeatable. Now, directionless, pot-less and driving customers away, they are in trouble.
Over the last 20 years they have gone from being specialist retailer to being one of the worst photographic outlets that I have ever had the displeasure in dealing with. The staff are woefully under trained and as discourteous, sullen and moody as any McDonalds employee I have ever met, in fact for many of the staff that I have met, a MacJob is too good for them. The Company really seemed to have lost its sense of direction, whilst I realise that in the digital imaging age, no-one wants to have huge numbers of point & shoot digital cameras with a limited shelf life on their shelves, but to have zero stocks of almost anything else is a fundamental failing. The number of times I have had to have them order stuff, and then never receive it defies belief (this was in the days of price matching Their prices are completely out of kilter with the market place and in many cases; on accessories they can be twice the Internet price of other suppliers.
In a way I am not sorry to see them struggle, closing 81 branches means that quite a few of the spotting oiks will lose their jobs, which is a shame, but hopefully the directors will realise that streamlining the company isn’t a way to secure a future, only a way of holding off the Administrators. The company needs to realise that it needs to connect with it’s customers, the hardest part of retailing is getting the customers in the door, once there you need knowledgeable, intelligent staff who are prepared to assist and in many cases educate the customer, you need sensible prices and more than anything else you need to have stock.