Ex­clu­sive: Peter Jones on his plans for Jes­sops

Amateur Photographer - - 7 Days - For a longer ver­sion of this in­ter­view, see ama­teurpho­tog­ra­pher.co.uk.

DE­SPITE a high street slump and eco­nomic un­cer­tainty, Jes­sops is in­vest­ing in new store open­ings and re­fur­bish­ments, with £1.8 mil­lion spent on ‘in­tel­li­gent im­prove­ments’ in the past 12 months. Peter Jones of Drag­ons’

Den fame is a ma­jor in­vestor in Jes­sops, and re­cently opened a new con­cept store at 145 Ox­ford Street in Lon­don. As well as sell­ing cam­eras and print­ing im­ages, a key strat­egy for 2019 is the pro­vi­sion of cre­ativ­ity cor­ners, where cus­tomers can make photo gifts, dis­cover scrap­book­ing and get other cre­ative ideas from spe­cial­ist staff called ‘Pho­to­smiths’.

‘Peo­ple ask me, what is the rea­son for in­vest­ing right now, but ac­tu­ally, re­tail’s been tough for quite a few years,’ Jones told AP dur­ing an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view. ‘ We’ve spent six months look­ing into how to bring more peo­ple in store and en­gage more with the com­mu­nity, which leads to more sales, and there’s been a 25% up­lift in store ac­tiv­ity. Ev­ery­thing used to be be­hind glass screens, but when I got in­volved in 2013, I was clear I wanted peo­ple to be able to touch and feel what we sell.’

The think­ing be­hind the new cre­ativ­ity cor­ners is to en­cour­age smart­phone users in par­tic­u­lar to do more with their im­ages. ‘Bil­lions of im­ages never see light of day,’ notes Jones. ‘Jes­sops alone won’t change this, but we can em­brace it. Come in with your smart­phone pic­tures and en­gage with us, get your pic­tures out on to pil­lows or pho­to­books or what­ever, and if you would like to take your cam­era ex­pe­ri­ence more se­ri­ously, there’s no bet­ter place to go and buy.’

As part of the new look, Jones points to a more open and airy lay­out, with a fresh white fas­cia. The com­pany is also ex­pand­ing the range of cour­ses at the Jes­sops Acad­emy and reach­ing out to cam­era clubs. ‘ We have such a great brand iden­tity, peo­ple aged 12-80 have heard of Jes­sops. The changes we’ve made will be rolled out na­tion­ally over the next 18 months, so it’s an ex­cit­ing time.’

Peter Jones open­ing the new-look Jes­sops store

AP Edi­tor Nigel Ather­ton speak­ing to Peter Jones

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