Ned Bunnell Comments on Lens "Price Increase"
President of Pentax USA on Pentax's Plans for Growth
By PF Staff in Third-Party Announcements on Apr 18, 2012
Today, Ned Bunnell, president of Pentax USA, (now known as Pentax Ricoh Imaging Americas Corp.), made a very welcome and sincere blog post commenting on the recent lens price increase. Lens prices went up after a unilateral pricing policy was implemented for US-based retailers (including online stores) as of April 1st.
To start, he wanted to clarify that the MSRP prices have in fact not gone up for any lens, but rather, the jump was caused due to the fact that retailers can no longer offer their own unique discounts on the Pentax lenses they carry. Thus, the "playing field" for retailers has been leveled, allowing smaller stores a fair shot at becoming Pentax dealers and competing with larger outlets.
Nothing can summarize this better than Ned's words themselves:
"For our growth as a company, and the health of the photo retail marketplace, it is necessary to set guidelines for retail pricing to protect the integrity of the marketplace, and the value of a manufacturer's products."
This brings us to Ned's second point, which stresses that Pentax's main goal at the moment is to make Pentax camera and lenses more prominent in actual stores. He says that over the past year, 7 key retailers throughout the US now carry a winder range of Pentax products, including Samy's (LA), WB Hunt (Boston), Ace Photo (Virginia), Cameraland (Iowa/NYC), and others.
Ned reiterates this further:
"While I can’t share certain details, I can tell you that establishing a level playing field is critical to our expansion in the States. Many of you have asked for greater availability of Pentax cameras in stores, where you can touch and test the product. This is absolutely the right approach for us to take and is consistent with Pentax and Ricoh’s goal to grow our businesses in the U.S. market."
Surprisingly, he even states that now that the policy is in place, Pentax will consider offering rebates nationwide in the near future, though he did not comment about whether or not lens prices will go down (they likely will not).
Finally, he closes by stating that Ricoh's recent acquision of the company had nothing to do with this pricing policy change, which is good to hear.