Camera specialist Jessops vowed to focus back on customer service as it revealed a “single digit” like-for-like sales improvement in the calendar year to date.
Jessops, which delisted from the Stock Exchange last year, is refurbishing 25 of its stores, removing counters and replacing them with island pods, in the move to improve customer experience.
Jessops chief executive Trevor Moore told Retail Week the business traded positively over Christmas and said a new focus on training staff would “bring product alive on the shopfloor”.
Moore, who joined the business in September, said: “The counter is a barrier to delivering great customer service. The refurb is a business-critical piece of work and gets people walking the floor.”
The revamps, which will cost from £40,000 to £80,000 each, will also feature new signage, with the latest branding, clearer window displays, better visibility, more product innovation, and more exclusive lines.
Moore said the retailer, which is 47% owned by HSBC, has benefited “significantly” from delisting.
“HSBC is absolutely committed to the plan to turn around the business,” he said. “We only have two shareholders. It’s a massive advantage to have one point of focus.”
Jessops has invested a “substantial, six-figure sum” in its training scheme to improve service in stores and re-energise staff.
“The business had lost a lot of confidence with the onslaught of the internet and intrusion of rivals,” explained Moore. “They needed to know they had a future.”
He said: “When they try to replicate what we’re doing, they are giving us a real opportunity to show what a great specialist we are. We like to compete and we’re up for it.”