Reaction to RitzFebruary 25, 2009
On the eve of the imaging industry's biggest trade show, PMA, one of its leading acts has fallen ill. Ritz Camera, the largest camera store chain in the country, has declared bankruptcy. The chain filed for Chapter 11 protection in Wilmington, Delaware over this past weekend.
Other than to infer the show must go on, PMA had no comment on the news aside from wishing the chain their best, but the news has certainly cast a bit of a pall over the show, set to open its doors in less than a week.
“Well, retailers seemed to stay away from CES in droves and it was difficult getting past conversations about the economy that entire week,” began New York-based e-commerce analyst Lauren Sosik. “I would imagine this news about Ritz, coming just days before PMA will loom large all week.”
According to a report from Reuters, Ritz Camera's bankruptcy papers report assets and debt of $500 million each. Slumping sales, particularly at the chain's Boaters' World locations, and an overall drop in consumer spending are blamed for the downfall.
The largest creditors named in Ritz Camera's bankruptcy documents are Nikon (owed $26.6 million), Canon (owned $13.7 million), and Fuji Photo Film (owned $8.4 million).
News of the Ritz bankruptcy filing hit the industry hard as fellow photo retailers around the country have struggled to reinvent their business over the course of the last several years.
“News of Ritz Camera Centers Inc. filing for bankruptcy protection is an ominous warning and important lesson for all retailers. Along with all members in the photo imaging community, the news personally affected myself and everyone at ScanMyPhotos.com,” began Mitch Goldstone, President/CEO ScanMyPhotos.com and 30 Minute Photos Etc. “Our industry is more like a family - linked together and supportive. My company's thoughts go out to Ritz Camera, David Ritz and all the employees.”
Goldstone also commented on the timing of the announcement, saying, “The largest U.S. camera store chain seeking bankruptcy protection days before PMA brings deepening clouds of despair, but also provides an important lesson. It is time for the photo industry to accelerate is goal to reinvent itself for today's new market opportunities. While extending my thoughts to David Ritz and the entire Ritz family - many of whom I have been privileged to know and admire for two decades - I use this news as an opportunity to remind the photo industry that this is the time to rethink your business model and use technology, the Internet and smart retailing to recapture the intimacy and emotions of photography. This is also the moment that all our colleagues must also embrace the new Retail 2.0 Model for returning to profitability.”