Jessops reported full-year losses of almost £50 million today after the digital camera market saw its first slowdown in “many years”.
Like-for-like sales fell 6.5% in the year, although promotional activity helped Jessops to a 3.8% rise in the past eight weeks. It said it was “highly likely” sales would have continued to decline without the price cuts.
Jessops claimed a 15.9% share of the digital camera market, down from 18.7% a year earlier, as a result of 81 store closures in 2007. The compact camera market was up 7.3% in volumes but down 5% in value.
Executive chairman David Adams said Jessops was focused on improving margins and strengthening relationships with key suppliers, adding ‘these are the most difficult and uncertain retail trading conditions that we have seen in the photographic market for a long time.’
Average price of Jessops camera was £229
The average price of a camera sold by Jessops remained above the market average at £228.98, but in the last six months of the year it reacted to market demand by including cameras retailing at under £100.
Which? digital camera expert, Al Warman, said: ‘as digital camera technology improves, for many consumers a sub-£100 camera will have all the features they require. Megapixel counts have increased so that entry-level digital cameras, or even cameraphones, are fine for most people’s everyday snaps.
‘And consumers are aware that there are often significant savings to be made by buying online. Unless high-street retailers can offer expert buying advice, camera buyers are likely to find them uncompetitive compared to digital camera websites.’
Which? has reviews of digital compact cameras and digital SLRs, advice on digital camera accessories, plus Which? Compare lets you find the lowest prices.
Which? RSS news feed
For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed. If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste http://www.which.co.uk/feeds/reviews/news.xml into your newsreader. Find out more about RSS in the Which? guide to RSS news feeds.
Sign up to the Which? weekly technology focus email
Keep your finger on the pulse of digital technology with the weekly email from the Which? Technology team. Every Tuesday we’ll send you the latest news and reviews of MP3 players, mobile phones, cameras, high-definition TVs and other gadgets. Packed with the latest product launches, First Look reviews, expert advice and some incredible deals – can you afford not to be the first to find out? Plus everyone who signs up will be entered into our free prize draw with a chance to win a Sony PlayStation 3.