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04-12-2019, 02:26 PM   #1
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How did Pentax Alienate Retailers?

Living in Southern California no camera stores sell Pentax gear. Even those like Samy's who have around 9 locations and claim to carry Pentax have an extremely limited selection. I was in LA yesterday, so I stopped at Samy's store there. When I asked if they had a Pentax KP the guy at the counter went into a min-rant about Pentax, their lack of reps and that they were not putting out any new products. (?) Pentax needs to have a presence in stores on the West Coast, especially in California if they want to sell more products. I would love to know what they are doing out here. Is there a Southern California rep? Heck, I was in the Leica Gallery for a photo exhibit and a few people came up to me asking about my K-1, and making statements like they didn't know that Pentax was still in business.

04-12-2019, 06:40 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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They won't do flooring where they are actually covering the cost of the inventory on the showroom floors until it is sold while charging interest on the items that the store has for sale. (I suspect this is true and it has been stated as fact here on more then one occasion.)
Auto dealers do this to allow a large selection of cars without having to actually pay the full wholesale price for the hundreds of cars on their lots.

It means the stores are not willing to put their own money towards camera inventory of smaller (read, less trendy or popular) brands in a shrinking market.
04-12-2019, 09:19 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
They won't do flooring where they are actually covering the cost of the inventory on the showroom floors until it is sold while charging interest on the items that the store has for sale. (I suspect this is true and it has been stated as fact here on more then one occasion.)
Auto dealers do this to allow a large selection of cars without having to actually pay the full wholesale price for the hundreds of cars on their lots.

It means the stores are not willing to put their own money towards camera inventory of smaller (read, less trendy or popular) brands in a shrinking market.
It's a minor point, but I think the camera distribution model is more along the line of 3-4 months to pay for stock (dating terms) combined with guaranteed sale within a year (accomplished through buying back unsold inventory and/or offering large discounts if retailer agrees to hang onto unsold inventory). Apparently RIAC tried that before and after the 645Z launch and when it failed to "move the needle" Ricoh Company let most of their U.S. based sales and marketing people go. There was also a bloodbath in the office imaging divisions about the same time.

There is no good news in the photographic equipment business for anyone, but Canon, Nikon and Sony are still willing to spend money to protect their shelf space at brick and mortar retailers and distributors for Panasonic, Fuji and Olympus still seem to support the launch of new products with lenient co-op advertising programs along with the above mentioned dating and buyback terms. If I am a retailer, that allows me to harvest some sales without having to risk my own dwindling working capital. But everyone needs to make a profit and if expensive marketing programs don't grow sales, nobody makes a profit. Online sales are another way for leading retailers to extend their market reach and improve inventory turns, but then you are competing with every online retailer in the world. At some point you and I won't be able to walk into a camera store, look at what they have on display and then walk out with our purchases, even if we buy something other than Pentax.


The bottom line is that the business model for selling cameras and lenses has permanently moved away from conventional retailers. The retail bull might still be snorting and charging, but the bull-fight is over.
04-13-2019, 01:05 AM - 3 Likes   #4
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AFAIK, they don't do Dealer Credit.

Once you do that, you're effectively in the US bricks and mortar retail business.

Much too risky.

Apparently Nikon were stuck with a big bill when some chain went belly-up.



04-13-2019, 01:46 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
It's a minor point, but I think the camera distribution model is more along the line of 3-4 months to pay for stock (dating terms) combined with guaranteed sale within a year (accomplished through buying back unsold inventory and/or offering large discounts if retailer agrees to hang onto unsold inventory). Apparently RIAC tried that before and after the 645Z launch and when it failed to "move the needle" Ricoh Company let most of their U.S. based sales and marketing people go. There was also a bloodbath in the office imaging divisions about the same time.

There is no good news in the photographic equipment business for anyone, but Canon, Nikon and Sony are still willing to spend money to protect their shelf space at brick and mortar retailers and distributors for Panasonic, Fuji and Olympus still seem to support the launch of new products with lenient co-op advertising programs along with the above mentioned dating and buyback terms. If I am a retailer, that allows me to harvest some sales without having to risk my own dwindling working capital. But everyone needs to make a profit and if expensive marketing programs don't grow sales, nobody makes a profit. Online sales are another way for leading retailers to extend their market reach and improve inventory turns, but then you are competing with every online retailer in the world. At some point you and I won't be able to walk into a camera store, look at what they have on display and then walk out with our purchases, even if we buy something other than Pentax.


The bottom line is that the business model for selling cameras and lenses has permanently moved away from conventional retailers. The retail bull might still be snorting and charging, but the bull-fight is over.
Pentax started making their terms tougher - raising Dealer minimum stock and order sizes - and cutting reps as early as the 80’s.

Last edited by monochrome; 04-13-2019 at 01:52 AM.
04-13-2019, 02:22 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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So I think we can conclude that they aren't intending to bring back the "Jusr hold a Pentax" slogan anytime soon.
04-13-2019, 02:35 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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I asked the local photography shop about that, why they don't sell Pentax stuff. The owner told me it was because they'd have to buy the stock outright and Ricoh would not give them credit on unsold or returned products. Canon, Nikon, and Sony apparently treat the dealers better, so they don't bother with Pentax. Not that big a market for Pentax, anyway.
04-13-2019, 03:24 AM   #8
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I think quite a while ago Pentax decided that the United States was basically a lost cause and they would mainly have an internet presence there -- mostly through B and H, Adorama, and Amazon. Their biggest market, by far, is Japan and they probably treat retailers differently there.

The number of true photography stores has really diminished over time and honestly, most of them cannot meet the prices of places like B and H. People would go in, handle the gear and then order from another store -- maybe even hoping to avoid sales tax.

04-13-2019, 03:48 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
People would go in, handle the gear and then order from another store -- maybe even hoping to avoid sales tax.
This is a problem for all sorts of retailers.

QuoteOriginally posted by dlh Quote
Not that big a market for Pentax, anyway.
I suppose Pentax/Ricoh sells enough cameras closer to home that they don't feel the need to gain a bigger market share in North America. It would be interesting to know what their leadership thinks.
04-13-2019, 03:53 AM - 4 Likes   #10
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I have 1 camera store in my local town and they supply Pentax online only whilst Sony, nikon, cannon and fuji all have their own display cabinets in store.
Apparently their Pentax suppliers are too expensive to keep stock on hand.
I travel 1 hour down the road to Melbourne and I can buy 2nd hand Pentax lenses from a few stores.
I am yet to find a shop anywhere that has Pentax items in the window.
When I win the lotto, I will start a Pentax shop in Melbourne.
04-13-2019, 04:08 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by VILLAINofOZ Quote
When I win the lotto, I will start a Pentax shop in Melbourne.
And you'll lose your money Villain, Pentax has tiny marketshare.

Kirk's out at Ringwood had them instore and they're gone.



04-13-2019, 06:11 AM - 2 Likes   #12
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Physical stores of all types are disappearing in my area. And it's no wonder as Internet products are cheaper and "fresher" than similar store products are.

Last year I purchased a "new" microwave oven from a local store. Well, it died a few days ago. When I contact the manufacturer (GE) about the warranttee, I was told that this product was made three years before I bought it and that it was sitting on the shelf of my local store as a demo for those 3 years. Yet the local store owner told me it was a new unit and charged me the full price. My experience with store salesmen is not good - I've caught them in lies a number of times attempting to sell their overpriced and outdated products.

My only experience with an actual camera store that had Pentax cameras in stock was up in Canada. The store had a few older Pentax models for sale in the store. These older models were not the current models, who knows how long they'd been in the store. Also their prices were more than the prices on the latest models I could buy over the Internet.

It's experiences like these that are driving consumers to purchase most products via the Internet. Heck, my son even buys his toilet paper over the Internet (he's an Amazon Prime member so he gets fast/free shipping on it)!

For years now I've purchased all of my new camera gear over the Internet and have been very satisfied with the experience. I do not lament the demise of local stores what-so-ever, nor do I feel handicapped because there are no local stores selling Pentax gear.

Last edited by Fenwoodian; 04-13-2019 at 06:29 AM.
04-13-2019, 06:36 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlh Quote
I asked the local photography shop about that, why they don't sell Pentax stuff. The owner told me it was because they'd have to buy the stock outright and Ricoh would not give them credit on unsold or returned products. Canon, Nikon, and Sony apparently treat the dealers better, so they don't bother with Pentax. Not that big a market for Pentax, anyway.
Yet you have seen major retailers go into bankruptcy because they owed Nikon and Canon millions. I don't think Pentax wants to play that game.

Not to mention the part that I've had so many retailers try and steer me away from Pentax I find thew whole store experience rather unpleasant. MY closest camera store had a K-1 for $50 more than I paid for mine, but I didn't realize it because I never go in there. For years they've had no Pentax stuff and very little Canon, mostly Nikon. They would order things for me, but then I'd have to drive 100 km to pick them up, when if I order on-line I can walk over to my post office and pick it up. The problem being, even when the stores were "selling" Pentax, they weren't promoting the brand. They had stock on the shelves, but their reps weren't pushing it. There's two sides to every story. Basically Nikon and Canon bribe store owners. Most of the stores I talk to don't care about my dollar if it's going to Pentax. I don't tell people how to run their business. They don't get to tell me what I'm going to buy. If they can't be there supporting my decision, they can go under for all I care.

We use our closest store for some printing, maybe a tripod if they have one on sale, filters, replacement lens hoods, camera bags etc. but I wouldn't buy a camera from them.
04-13-2019, 06:43 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joe Dusel Quote
How did Pentax Alienate Retailers?
Most brands help retailers financially. Pentax doesn't do it or doesn't do it to the same level. Given how many camera brands and models are already queuing for shelf space, getting rid of Pentax is decision that make sense for the retailer but doesn't make any sense for the Pentax customers.

---------- Post added 13-04-19 at 15:46 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
Physical stores of all types are disappearing in my area. And it's no wonder as Internet products are cheaper and "fresher" than similar store products are.
Good point. What happens is that the small B&M camera retailer can hardly make money on their own without being subsidized , when they struggle, their decision is to push more of the camera brands that subsidize them the most. I end up being sold a camera model that I don't like, my reaction is to go back home and buy online.
04-13-2019, 08:31 AM - 2 Likes   #15
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I think Pentax did floorplan a few large US Dealers until Ricoh shut down the US operation and went full-internet, but their minimums were prohibitively high. They probably floorplan B&H and Adorama, but rather than accept returned unsold merchandise they pay the retailer to have a markdown sale, such as the current $500 price on the DA 20~40 silver Limited. Until quite recently my local camera chain actually stocked and advertised Pentax. At the end they had one shelf in a mixed display with a Q7 and some lenses, a 645z, some old K-3’s and a K-1.

I bought my K-1 and 28~105 from them day-of-release as a walk-in, not pre-ordered, because B&H (or Ricoh Imaging, depending on who you want to believe) screwed up my pre-order.. Of course on the K-1 there was no price premium as a new release, but I paid 11.7% Sales Tax because the store is in the part of our city that’s has the highest combined State / County / City tax. Four miles farther west the tax would have been 7.875%

In the last two years that chain has shrunk from 11 stores to three, one a brand new SuperStore that has every photographic item imaginable - except Pentax.

Last edited by monochrome; 04-13-2019 at 08:42 AM.
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