Jessops’ chief executive Trevor Moore explains how the retailer has delivered a profits rise in a declining market.
Are you pleased with the business’ performance?
I am delighted. Clearly it’s been a very challenging year for retailers and industry as a whole but we have improved sales, margin, costs and EBITDA against a generally tough backdrop for consumer electronics.
How has Jessops managed this?
There are four clear things we have delivered:
Firstly, we have continued to focus on training and developing our staff. We have put a lot of effort into improving our knowledge service.
Secondly, while a lot of people have slowed down investment programmes in stores, we are continuing to refurbish them into ‘black’ stores.
Thirdly, we are continuing to develop our multichannel offer and online is continuing to grow and is now 30% of our business while the majority of those customers that order online, then collect in store.
Lastly, we have worked very hard in a tough year to strengthen relationships with our brands.
What difference did investing in stores make?
It’s about investing in the store environment for customers. It’s like wallpaper – if it’s been there for years you walk past it and don’t notice it. By reinventing the look, customers become more interested and want to come in. By investing in the stores we hope the customer gets a better shopping experience.
You are continuing to focus online and offer more services – what are the benefits of that?
In my mind people change their camera in cycles, it could be every year or every 18 months. By offering a wider range of photo related services it brings people in to store more often. If they get their pictures developed they might come in every four to six weeks. When we have new, innovative products it means we can sell the customer more than a camera, such as photo developing and gifting services.
When do you hope to achieve your aim of “being the best channel to market for our suppliers and the first-choice destination for all our customers’ imaging needs”?
I definitely think we are one of the best channels to market for our suppliers. We have clear plans and we want to be successful together, so we will focus on the relationship and communication between us.
Regarding the customer, we have seen more are shopping with us and they are choosing to shop with us as we continue to grow market share each month.
But we have a long way to go to reach perfection and many retailers never achieve it.
Competition in the electronics and cameras market is becoming fiercer as smart phone cameras become more developed. How is Jessops offsetting that threat?
Jessops’ heartland products are not basic entry-level compact cameras that are sold with little need for advice. Our core range is proficient cameras that have features that many mobile phone cameras don’t have.
Having said that, we do want customers to be able to buy their first camera from us and then continue to buy with us as they become more experienced, so in the last three years we have entered the bottom half of the market but it is not our heartland product.
Also we can connect mobile phones to our in-store printing kiosks, while at the same time helping customers to understand they will get much better results by swapping their camera phone for a camera.
Are you up for sale?
Our bank is there to deliver our business plan. We are focused on continuing that in partnership with our shareholder.