Wilkinson Cameras has expressed an interest in taking over at least one Jessops store, Amateur Photographer (AP) has learned.

The move comes as the nine-store, North-West-based, retailer reports booming trade in second-hand camera gear.

Wilkinson has approached administrator, PwC, with a view to buying more than one Jessops store after Britain’s largest high-street camera chain closed all its remaining 187 shops earlier this month.

‘We are interested in operating in more stores,’ confirmed Wilkinson Cameras managing director David Parkinson.

However, Parkinson said Wilkinson’s choice of locations is constrained by high rents payable at some Jessops sites, such as central Manchester.

Parkinson has been told Jessops was paying £170,000 a year at its Manchester branch – too high a figure for Wilkinson to consider, given the profit margin on digital cameras.

The PwC spokesman dealing with Jessops enquiries was not available for comment at the time of writing.

Meanwhile, Wilkinson Cameras has reported ‘huge success’ in its second-hand camera business, which it first trialled last summer.

Parkinson sees trading in used cameras as a ‘contributing factor’ to the future success of high-street camera shops.

He explained that it is a specialist area requiring the expert knowledge of experienced staff, but cautioned that ‘proper presentation’ of the product is key to its appeal.

‘All our used equipment is sold as pre-owned,’ he told AP.

Jessops axed its second-hand service in 2006.

Parkinson puts the recent success of second-hand down to a ‘slow-down’ in digital camera advances.

He said demand for second-hand comes in cycles.

While, say, five years ago cameras would be quickly out of date, technology is today more about ‘evolution’, rather than a ‘revolution’.

‘Dealers backed away from second-hand. It was too much of a gamble… because technology was coming on leaps and bounds.’

These days, he said, consumers, are more willing to buy a previous model DSLR, over the latest version, because the technology inside is not hugely different.

Demand for super-telephoto lenses, for example, has also been brisk.


Wilkinson reports that it receives up to ten requests an hour for its second-hand service, and has a dedicated member of staff to handle enquiries.

On Saturday, it traded in 30 pieces of used kit.

Customers are told they will normally receive an offer for their old kit within 24 hours, based on age, condition, make and model.

Customers can upload details of cameras and lenses to WeBuyAnyCamera.com to ‘turn them into cash.

Wilkinson’s branch in Warrington, Cheshire is co-ordinating operations.

Formed in 1986, Wilkinson Cameras has stores at: Preston, Blackburn, Lancaster, Burnley, Kendal, Southport, Carlisle, Bury and Warrington.

For details visit www.webuyanycamera.com

  • H B W Baker-Johnson, T.Eng.

    Very sad about Jessops and the Cecil Jacobs stores last year. They were both huge in the 60’s to the late 90’s in Leicester – I used to travel down from North Nottinghamshire monthly for darkroom supplies etc. Sadly also a sign of the times with Wilkinsons who trade as ‘We buy Any Camera’. I tried them with my mint and little used Olympus E-3 body with an HLD-4 grip and various other accessories all mint and boxed as original on eBay recently E-3 bodies regularly go for over £600 – Wilkinson’s generous deal was £100 for the whole or £125 in ‘vouchers’. These firms we can do without!

  • Colin Raine

    Why not branch out east ? The north-east needs more photo shops. Currently there are no camera shops in Newcastle, only one in Sunderland and one in Durham. When I first took up photography in the sixtys there were five camera shops in Newcastle, three in Sunderand, one in Gateshead and two in Duham ! We need an outlet that provides new and used eqiupment and a good range of proffessional gear for hire.

  • Graeme Stewart

    Fingers crossed they buy one of the Glasgow stores. We need a retailer here.