The rise of the camera phone was the beginning of the end for General Electric (GE)u2019s hopes of making a success out of selling cameras in Europe.
General Imaging Europe has confirmed that it has ceased trading after six years of operation in the UK. It has also shut down its European offices in Germany.
Six staff in the UK and six in Germany have lost their jobs as a result of the closures.
‘We have ceased European operations. Cameras will no longer be imported into Europe,’ confirmed Gary Banks, commercial director for European operations at General Imaging Europe.
‘We are no longer supplying products and any pending orders will be cancelled,’ he said.
Speaking to Amateur Photographer (AP) Banks spelt out the tough times faced by a business vying for market share amid a smartphone revolution that removed profits at the ‘bottom-end’ of the compact camera market.
A move towards mid-range bridge cameras did not pay dividends either, it seems, as the firm struggled to compete on price in a cutthroat arena brimming with more recognisable camera brands.
Banks believes GE cameras offer the same quality as those made by many other manufacturers and he voiced frustration that the GE name failed to woo consumers who would seek out well-known players.
Banks, who has previously worked at Kodak and Samsung – and is well known in the UK photo industry – said: ‘We recognised a couple of years ago that demand would be for zoom – away from pixels.
‘They were planning to bring in some much bigger zooms as well.’
But, he added: ‘We didn’t have the brand to give consumers the confidence in a sale.’
Reacting to initial news of the company’s demise, yesterday, two members of the AP website forum wrote that they were both unaware that GE sold cameras.
Banks said GE cameras are still being made but their sale is now limited to the American market.
He pointed out that customers will continue to receive a full, one-year, warranty and he suggested that any local creditors would not be left empty-handed.