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Reaction to Ritz

February 25, 2009
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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.”

 

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Luke - Posted on March 04, 2009
I worked for Boater's World for several years and loved the job. It was fun, and Ritz was a nice company to work for. A real shame.
Michael Colwell - Posted on February 26, 2009
My wife and I closed down Photo Image Center in Fort Collins Colorado the end of the year. I'm not sure there is any other way to "reinvent" our industry. We had a portrait studio, did copy work and restorations; and we were even the last lab in the area to process B&W and E6( for all those purists). Reinventing this industry is kinda like trying to reinvent a Stegosaurus. We may all be extinct, and we don't even know it yet. Sad times indeed
Paul Rentz - Posted on February 25, 2009
Since Boater's World sounds like the biggest hurdle for Ritz to handle, this may not be as bad news to the photo industry as the boating industry. But guess what, they're both leisure activities and the pain goes around to all. My hope would be the Chapter 11 will enable Ritz to move forward, come back stronger and take care of the bills to Nikon, Canon and Fuji, etc. as I'm sure they'd LOVE to do too!
We're pulling for you!
Demp - Posted on February 25, 2009
Ritz will survive. They know what they are doing.

The industry reference could have been better in this article.

You shoud use comp retailers like Bedford, Noble, or Dodd.
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Luke - Posted on March 04, 2009
I worked for Boater's World for several years and loved the job. It was fun, and Ritz was a nice company to work for. A real shame.
Michael Colwell - Posted on February 26, 2009
My wife and I closed down Photo Image Center in Fort Collins Colorado the end of the year. I'm not sure there is any other way to "reinvent" our industry. We had a portrait studio, did copy work and restorations; and we were even the last lab in the area to process B&W and E6( for all those purists). Reinventing this industry is kinda like trying to reinvent a Stegosaurus. We may all be extinct, and we don't even know it yet. Sad times indeed
Paul Rentz - Posted on February 25, 2009
Since Boater's World sounds like the biggest hurdle for Ritz to handle, this may not be as bad news to the photo industry as the boating industry. But guess what, they're both leisure activities and the pain goes around to all. My hope would be the Chapter 11 will enable Ritz to move forward, come back stronger and take care of the bills to Nikon, Canon and Fuji, etc. as I'm sure they'd LOVE to do too!
We're pulling for you!
Demp - Posted on February 25, 2009
Ritz will survive. They know what they are doing.

The industry reference could have been better in this article.

You shoud use comp retailers like Bedford, Noble, or Dodd.