Farewell, Jessops

Torquay harbour, June 2009

This was the first photo I ever took with my current camera, taken minutes after buying it from Jessops in Torquay in 2009 after my existing camera died on me while on holiday.

Today came the news that Jessops is to close all stores, putting 1,370 people out of a job. Jessops had been ailing for some time, and there was always a gut feeling that it was only a matter of time before the chain went under. The suddeness of the end still came as something of a shock. Debate rages over whether their downfall was due to the rise of smartphones replacing “real” cameras, competition from Amazon, or simply poor customer service.

The Torquay branch where I bought the camera had already closed before today’s announcment. So had the Slough branch, over a year ago, where I made my last significant purchase from Jessops, a fast zoom lens.

I’m lucky that in Reading there are a couple of other camera shops including a branch of The London Camera Exchange. But there are many other towns and cities where Jessops was the only photographic specialist on the high street. What does this mean for photography?

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6 Responses to Farewell, Jessops

  1. Zalamanda says:

    I can’t say that I’m very surprised. I actually suspect that the rise of digital photography has much to do with it; no longer do the majority of photographers require an outside agency to access and print their images. They can do it all at home.

    It’s getting jolly difficult to get 35mm developed.

    I bought my Pentax SLR (a used 35mm number; I don’t use it much) from that very branch of LCE around 10 years ago. I noted that it was still there on a (now rare) visit to Reading recently.

  2. Archangel says:

    I think poor customer service will have been a significant factor. Interesting to read the comment on the PC Pro blog that you linked to.
    My last experience of Jessops was the Ipswich branch 18 months ago, where I’d gone to get some 35mm films developed. The store had been redesigned by a moron, and no longer had any counter or place to queue for service. There was no system of determining which customer was next to be seen, and the staff were too busy chatting to be interested in the increasing number of customers milling around trying to catch their attention. When I finally got served, I told them they had lost my business, and I haven’t been back.

  3. Tim Hall says:

    Last time I visited Jessops was in Derby at the beginning of December to buy a new memory card. Took absolutely ages to get served.

    My last significant camera purchases were a couple of secondhand lenses from LCE in Reading in November. Have to wonder if abandoning the secondhand market did them no favours.

  4. Serdar says:

    For those of us on this side of the pond, is Jessops a bit like B&H? http://www.bhphotovideo.com/

  5. Adrian Beasley says:

    I think that the reason for the Jessops and Comet closures is very similar in both cases. These chain shops simply became shop windows for electrical products where
    consumers could get a physical experience 0f an item and receive professional technical advice from staff – at least in the case of Jessops ! The visit to the outlet didn’t usually lead to a purchase of the item instore – the savvy consumer returned home . switched on a laptop and searched for the best online deal. I expect quite a few major retailers to suffer the same fate in 2013 when the quarterly rent becomes due in March

  6. Ard Sloc says:

    No, it’s not “jolly difficult” to get 35 mm film processed. Snappy Snaps still do a first rate job. Admittedly it now takes five days instead of the former one hour from the Slough branch since their machine broke down.