Jessops is back in the news, and believe it or not, this time the news ins’t bad at all. Jessops’ online store will be back in business as of Friday and six retail stores will reopen shortly. The plan is to open more than 30 shops next month.
Jessops was forced to shut all of its 187 stores back in January, resulting in over 1,500 redundancies. Now the troubled camera chain wants to rehire around 500 souls to run its reopened stores.
The man behind the Jessops renaissance is TV tycoon Peter Jones. He bought what was left of Jessops for £2 million last month and he hopes to see £80 million in sales in the first year of business. It sounds rather optimistic and even Jones told The Mirror that there is a “huge risk” to contend with.
So, what does Jones hope to do differently this time around? He wants to reinvent Jessops stores with a new emphasis on online services. The stores will include “play tables” which can be used by consumers to compare products, along with digital kiosks for creating photo albums. The biggest change comes online. Shoppers will be able to order and pay for their gear online, then simply collect it in-store.
Jessops clearly wants to take on web retailers and there is a sense of irony in that, as web retailers played a significant role in the company’s downfall. It is a risky strategy and not even Jones sounds too confident. However, at this point it also looks like the only strategy that could save the Jessops brand.