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Ritz / Wolf Camera in Liquidation
Posted By: E-man, 09-12-2012, 12:33 PM

I just read that Ritz / Wolf Camera is now in liquidation and the company will shut down in the next couple of months. All of their retail locations have begun marking merchandise down to move it out. Prices are cut 10-30% now. Could be some good deals to be had.
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09-23-2012, 10:02 PM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
The sorry story of Ritz may tell us something about the wisdom of Pentax having a stratgy of getting into bricks and mortar stores. i.e. it may well not be successful because there aren't any bricks and mortar around.
I agree and I know this phrase has been thrown around a lot in all the FF fervor, but if Pentax's focus is only on bricks-and-mortar photography stores, they really are doomed. The stores they need to be focusing on aren't photo stores, but stores normal people shop at. I mean sure it'd be nice to see them in every photo store in force, but if they really want more market share, they need cameras in Amazon.com showrooms like Best Buy and to really focus on other, more-stable places like Target, Wal Mart, et al. The point isn't to get photographers buying gear with the groceries, but to get normal people to see, hold, and buy Pentax.

As an example, my mother-in-law decided she enjoyed taking photos and decided to buy a DSLR. She didn't go to Wolf or any other photo store; it just never crossed her mind. She bought a D5000 at Best Buy, because they had it and she could hold it, buy it, and walk out of there with it that day. I've seen the same thing at Target. While it would be nice for me to be able to buy lots of Pentax stuff locally, I'd rather see Pentax getting what they can (i.e., the basics) into stores where normal people are going to get hooked and subsidize the rest of us.

09-24-2012, 10:47 PM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by meeverett Quote
I agree and I know this phrase has been thrown around a lot in all the FF fervor, but if Pentax's focus is only on bricks-and-mortar photography stores, they really are doomed. The stores they need to be focusing on aren't photo stores, but stores normal people shop at. I mean sure it'd be nice to see them in every photo store in force, but if they really want more market share, they need cameras in Amazon.com showrooms like Best Buy and to really focus on other, more-stable places like Target, Wal Mart, et al. The point isn't to get photographers buying gear with the groceries, but to get normal people to see, hold, and buy Pentax.

As an example, my mother-in-law decided she enjoyed taking photos and decided to buy a DSLR. She didn't go to Wolf or any other photo store; it just never crossed her mind. She bought a D5000 at Best Buy, because they had it and she could hold it, buy it, and walk out of there with it that day. I've seen the same thing at Target. While it would be nice for me to be able to buy lots of Pentax stuff locally, I'd rather see Pentax getting what they can (i.e., the basics) into stores where normal people are going to get hooked and subsidize the rest of us.
No disagreement ont he desireability of being in Walmart etc. the problem is that walmart really doesn't like to be a showroom
for on line buyers. How you unravel the channel conflict with pricingpolicy seems to be a real problem that Pentax has.

On line merchandizing can be done on narrow margins, but Walmart needs a bigger margin to give it shelf space so setting the
pricing without a problem is a dilemma. Pentax in market share is well back in the pack behind canikon, and why give shelf space
to a slow seller if have the wanna be buyers are gonna look and then run home and buy on line.

A store is more likely to tolerate this market conflict with a hot seller, because they will sell a lot anyway, and a reputation for carrying market leading products projects a positive marketing image. It's sort of why market dominance is so critical to any retail product. For example
ifyou are the manufacturer of iPhones you can get away with a lot of crap because they will sell like hotcakes whether they are any good or not (at least for a while), but if you are wholesaling Nokkia phones which seem to be in much less demand, the retailers tolerance for
channel conflict is much lower. P.S. I am not dissing Nokkia or Iphone here,,,, just using the names as examples of a market dominant
product, and a not so dominate product.

Shelf space competition is always fierce. The likes of Walmart have the shelf space to sales ratios as a key aspect of their marketing
strategy. They are constantly looking to assign their self space to items that fly out the door. they don't much care whether the product is good or bad, they care whether it sells. If it's a display model for on line sales, it won't get shelf space for long.
09-25-2012, 09:54 AM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
No disagreement ont he desireability of being in Walmart etc. the problem is that walmart really doesn't like to be a showroom
for on line buyers. How you unravel the channel conflict with pricingpolicy seems to be a real problem that Pentax has.

On line merchandizing can be done on narrow margins, but Walmart needs a bigger margin to give it shelf space so setting the
pricing without a problem is a dilemma. Pentax in market share is well back in the pack behind canikon, and why give shelf space
to a slow seller if have the wanna be buyers are gonna look and then run home and buy on line.

A store is more likely to tolerate this market conflict with a hot seller, because they will sell a lot anyway, and a reputation for carrying market leading products projects a positive marketing image. It's sort of why market dominance is so critical to any retail product. For example
ifyou are the manufacturer of iPhones you can get away with a lot of crap because they will sell like hotcakes whether they are any good or not (at least for a while), but if you are wholesaling Nokkia phones which seem to be in much less demand, the retailers tolerance for
channel conflict is much lower. P.S. I am not dissing Nokkia or Iphone here,,,, just using the names as examples of a market dominant
product, and a not so dominate product.

Shelf space competition is always fierce. The likes of Walmart have the shelf space to sales ratios as a key aspect of their marketing
strategy. They are constantly looking to assign their self space to items that fly out the door. they don't much care whether the product is good or bad, they care whether it sells. If it's a display model for on line sales, it won't get shelf space for long.
Best Buy seems like the obvious place for a company like Pentax to project a brick and mortar strategy. Unlike Walmart and Target, Best Buy sells cameras from $100 to $2000 or more. I just saw a Canon 5D and (if I recall) a Nikon D800 in one last week. Pentax is square in the middle of this segment and that is where the potential customers are.

I still think Pentax's online pricing "guidance" is an effort to show retailers like Best Buy that Pentax is a much safer bet now. The risk of people coming in to look at a lens (that they took the effort and money to display), only to have a shopper call up an online outfit to actually buy, has gone down.
09-25-2012, 10:04 AM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
Best Buy seems like the obvious place for a company like Pentax to project a brick and mortar strategy. Unlike Walmart and Target, Best Buy sells cameras from $100 to $2000 or more. I just saw a Canon 5D and (if I recall) a Nikon D800 in one last week. Pentax is square in the middle of this segment and that is where the potential customers are.

I still think Pentax's online pricing "guidance" is an effort to show retailers like Best Buy that Pentax is a much safer bet now. The risk of people coming in to look at a lens (that they took the effort and money to display), only to have a shopper call up an online outfit to actually buy, has gone down.
Of course Best Buy has been closing stores left and right and may soon go the way of Circuit City. We also used to have a chain around here called Ultimate Electronics, now gone also. I'm sure many of the regional chains have closed down. Is Pentax in any of the remaining bigger camera stores on the West Coast like Samy's? The Los Angeles and California market is very important, so they need to target there especially. If the economy wasn't in the dumper, this might be an easier path. Or there might be a lot more competition -- who knows...

09-25-2012, 10:25 AM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
Of course Best Buy has been closing stores left and right and may soon go the way of Circuit City. We also used to have a chain around here called Ultimate Electronics, now gone also. I'm sure many of the regional chains have closed down. Is Pentax in any of the remaining bigger camera stores on the West Coast like Samy's? The Los Angeles and California market is very important, so they need to target there especially. If the economy wasn't in the dumper, this might be an easier path. Or there might be a lot more competition -- who knows...
From the New York Times:

"Among financial analysts who cover the company, there is no sense that Best Buy will go the way of Circuit City."

Best Buy Company Inc. News - Company Information - The New York Times
09-25-2012, 10:38 AM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
From the New York Times:

"Among financial analysts who cover the company, there is no sense that Best Buy will go the way of Circuit City."

Best Buy Company Inc. News - Company Information - The New York Times
And let's take a look at a retrospective sampling of what "financial analysts" had to say about the housing market and the economy in general circa summer 2007... nobody knows anything.
09-25-2012, 11:15 AM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
And let's take a look at a retrospective sampling of what "financial analysts" had to say about the housing market and the economy in general circa summer 2007... nobody knows anything.
Very few analysts, whether captive internal business analysts, "buy side" institutional investment or "sell side" investment bank analysts really understand that this is an extended period of deflation - real deflation, like the thirties - somewhat mitigated by modern central banks, global coordination and social insurance (in the Western nations).

As debt is liquidated through bankruptcy, household debt pay down and corporate Balance Sheet restructuring global economic activity consistently remains less than analysts are accustomed to and expect. They therefore make projections based upon the false premise that end-buyers will use leverage to maintain consumption and thus Return on Capital Invested will be positive.

That premise has repeatedly been shown to be overly optimistic.

Pentax Ricoh may well be a rational actor in this economy, refusing to deploy capital in the form of Merchant Credit to anything other than the surest customers; Ace, B&H, Adorama and Amazon in the USA, others in Europe and the Japan home market qualify. Maybe Best Buy does and maybe they don't. Maybe Target wants terms Pentax doesn't want to offer.

PRICL may also refuse to allocate scarce capital to high-ticket, low volume products (I won't name them, but the intials are FF) until they have cash flow from APSc to support many quarters of losses on new ventures.

Just thinking out loud here.

Last edited by monochrome; 09-27-2012 at 01:24 PM.
09-25-2012, 01:48 PM   #53
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wolf camera is out ...... again!!

09-25-2012, 05:08 PM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
No disagreement ont he desireability of being in Walmart etc. the problem is that walmart really doesn't like to be a showroom
for on line buyers.
I don't disagree and this makes perfect sense, but I can't help wondering whether MAP isn't designed to make this less an issue.
09-26-2012, 05:53 PM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote

Pentax Ricoh may well be a rational actor in this economy, refusing to deploy capital in the form of Merchant Credit to anythinng other than the surest customers; Ace, B&H, Adorama and Amazon in the USA, others in Europe and the Japan home market qualify. Maybe Best Buy does and maybe they don't. Maybe Target wants terms Pentax doesn't want to offer.
I like your idea here, but what is Ace?
09-26-2012, 08:11 PM   #56
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I think he means Abes of Maine.
09-27-2012, 11:41 AM   #57
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Future of Brick-and-Mortar Stores

It's very hard to get good wholesale terms from electronics companies. This didn't just start yesterday. My father was in the retail furniture business back in the Sixties and complained about it then with TVs and transistor radios. But the problem is that it's just gotten worse. At this point, a retailer is lucky to keep 3% of the purchase price and only a few decimal percentage points of that could be considered profit. As we discussed before, that's why there is so much pressure on you to buy warranties and so on when you buy such an item. The last time I bought a refrigerator, I told the salesman up front that I couldn't afford to buy a warranty but I'd pay as much as he made in commission on a 5 year warranty directly to him in cash as long as he showed me a good product. It worked. Of course, I had to pay him as I shook hands with him.

With so much pressure on electronics goods prices, I'm surprised that anybody besides Walmart or the cell phone companies bothers to stock anything in a brick-and-mortar operation. I think in the future, you'll buy everything direct from the manufacturer over the Web. If we're lucky, the manufacturers will run "boutiques" in major cities where you'll get to handle the goods for an admittance fee. You just won't be able to take anything home.
09-27-2012, 11:53 AM   #58
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"The last time I bought a refrigerator, I told the salesman up front that I couldn't afford to buy a warranty but I'd pay as much as he made in commission on a 5 year warranty directly to him in cash as long as he showed me a good product. It worked. Of course, I had to pay him as I shook hands with him.

That's an idea I hadn't heard! You both won, and you probably made a friend.
09-27-2012, 01:21 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by VoiceOfReason Quote
I think he means Abes of Maine.
Yes, that.
10-19-2012, 09:23 AM   #60
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Today is the last day my local Ritz will be open. I went in yesterday and got a few bargains: a $40 camera bag for $5, a couple of filters for $1 each and four CV-R3 batteries for $1 each. I heard the manager telling another customer that a different camera store would be moving into the space, which was reassuring to hear, not that I shop locally for much camera stuff. I buy more online these days. Oh well, another chapter closed.
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