Jessops has notched-up ?solid? like-for-like sales growth so far this year and maintains the confidence of its bankers, says chief executive Trevor Moore.
The CEO (pictured) said Jessops has achieved ‘single digit’ like-for-like sales increases, though he declined to elaborate.
Moore said the business has ?stabilised? since the financial restructure nearly two years ago that saw Jessops’ main operating company sold to a new firm, 47% owned by HSBC bank.
The £34m rescue deal was said to have saved 2,000 jobs.
Despite seemingly buoyant trading recently, Moore insists he has no plans to expand the chain.
?Two hundred [stores] is a good critical mass across the UK? We can build a very successful business with stores we have got,? said Moore in an exclusive interview with Amateur Photographer (AP).
And keen to remain a specialist photo retailer, Moore ruled out any immediate plans to expand its product line into areas such as TVs.
?We are sticking to the knitting? I don?t need that risk. I don?t need that diversion. That may change in three years time,? he told us.
Though Moore admits that looking beyond a three-year plan in this economic climate is ?very difficult’, he remains positive and says the firm is reaping the benefits of a nationwide staff training programme launched last year.
?We did more training last year than the previous five years combined,? he said, adding that it will take time to equip all employees with the technical knowledge to become ?experts? in their field. ?In one year we can?t right that wrong,? he said.
The chain plans to continue its store refurbishment programme, though many shops will be merely ?refreshed? rather than get a Centre of Excellence-style makeover like the Birmingham shop revamp, which cost ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’.
?We have a particularly old and tired estate,? added Moore. ?There?s been a lack of investment over a long period of time.?
The venture appears to be paying dividends. ?The new [store] format seems to be drawing in more people who want to pick up a camera, as well as seasoned experts,? said Moore who was appointed CEO in September 2009.
Moore has even considered reintroducing a second-hand service – five years after it was axed to the dismay of many amateur photographers.
He recently went to the United States on a mission to find out how photo retailers operate second-hand sales.
Though Moore sees the commercial opportunity of second-hand, he said the idea is something he has decided to ?park? for the time being.
?We have thought long and hard about whether we can make it work in selected stores but we are a very small team.
?I need a level of skill and management which I can?t apply to it.?
?I would love to be in that space? I wouldn?t say no to ever doing it [again].?
Picture credit: Damien Demolder