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Confusion: another Nikon UK price hike in March

Email sent to customers of Grays of Westminster:

"As a uniquely Nikon-only shop, Grays of Westminster is the perfect destination for your Nikon needs. Now, as well as a full range of bodies and accessories, we are pleased to announce that we unexpectedly have in stock a very small number of the following sought-after, rarely available lenses:

AF-S 300mm f/2.8G VR IF-ED (available while stocks last at the special price of £3,299) – RRP after March 1st is £4,999
AF-S 400mm f/2.8G VR IF-ED (available while stocks last at the special price of £5,749) – RRP after March 1st is £8,199
AF-S 200mm f/2G VR IF-ED (available at the old price of £2,949) – RRP after March 1st is £3,849
...

This is certainly an excellent time to make purchases of Nikon cameras, lenses and accessories from Grays of Westminster. Due to the sterling/yen differential, an increase of price will occur with all Nikon kit on the first of March, 2009. However, we are able to offer our range of Nikon bodies, lenses and accessories all at very favourable prices at this precise moment, so there is not a better moment to buy the kit you have always desired than now."

I guess as long as the yen keeps getting stronger against other currencies, we will keep seeing price increases.

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  • Anonymous

    If Nikon raises their prices much more I won’t be able to afford any of the lenses I was planning on buying.

    • Anonymous

      looks like you haven’t heard anything about http://www.KEH.com? they sell used lenses in all conditions from excellent condition to ugly (repairing reason) condition. yup, they sell almost every lens available out there now.

      • jons

        certainly keh will do price adjustments as well. keh will not keep old prices.

      • Jack

        Huh, no I haven’t heard about that site. Where have I been?

  • Anonymous

    to NR admin: you mean “as long as the yen keeps getting *stronger* against other currencies, we will see price increases”

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      correct – sorry my editors do not work weekends :)
      I already fixed it.

      • Pablov

        but the dollar has gotten stronger over almost all other currencies, so I don’t understand this so specific camera-related price increase

        I will check the yen currency all along the past 2 or 3 months to understand if this is really a matter of yen increased value over the dollar (wich I doubt, but still didn’t checked, so I can’t state anything)

        will check today…

    • ronin

      The Pound and Yen are roughly in the same range today as they were on December 1, 2008.

      Since the camera is assembled outside of Japan with labor sourced outside of Japan with materials originated outside Japan, and since the currency of those other countries outside Japan are also falling against the Yen, why should the price rise?

      Exports from Japan are already down 35%. Discretionary consumer electronics and items such as photo gear which are toys to the overwhelming majority of customers are being devastated. My speculation is that Nikon is trying desperately to recover its shrinking margins, an extremely misguided move that will only accelerate its losses.

  • raio

    No Problem. Higher prices mean, that I get more for my whole Nikon gear, I´ll sell it and then I go to Leica. I think the Nikon people slowly loose their sense for reality.

    • jsmyth

      You waiting for a digital R10?

    • Anonymous

      Yep – good news for me – I have bought a load of Nikon gear in the last couple of years to find out what I like to use and now I’m ready to sell off the stuff I don’t need.

  • Zoetmb

    Nikon doesn’t have much to do with it…it’s the relationship between the Dollar, Yen, Euro and Pound. What would you do when the dollar you got yesterday is worth only 75 cents today? You’re talking about a 10% margin business.

    In the last four years, the US Dollar has fallen 2% against the Euro, 13% against the Yen, but risen 24% against the Pound. The Pound has fallen 30% against the Yen.

    But there have been peaks inbetween. In 2008, Nikon used an exchange rate of 114 to the Dollar. In 2009, they’re expecting it to be 90. That’s a 21% drop. And with all the borrowing the U.S. is going to have to do to support the “stimulus”, my bet is that the dollar drops even more.

  • Gary

    The USD had been strengthening vs. the JPY since the 1st info was posted here. My quote systems are slumbering now but its been a 3-4% pop – off the top of my noggin from $1=88ish to $1=94ish.

    Prices of semis have fallen through a number of floors, so while they lost on the currency side, they more than gained on the component side. One probable ledger entry where they most likely have felt pain is bad debt write offs from Circus City and alike.

    Personally I don’t buy the currency argument for just about all internationals, can, and do, hedge their currency exposure, either in whole or in part. I am certain Nikon & Canon do. Likewise with any other raw materials in which there are futures contracts.

    I am willing to bet that in short order, EU and/or the US, will start lifting skirts and looking under for possible price fixing and/or price manipulation., especially since Japan is a notorious currency manipulator, in addition to having a virtual monopoly on the imaging industry. I specifically looked at all items in my Canon 40D I bought 2 weeks ago (got tired of waiting for the D300s to drop only watching it go up). Just ONE single item was marked MADE IN CHINA: the battery charger. All else, including the lens cap, manuals, CDs, etc etc were made in Japan. Kudos to them, and I could only wish the cretins on in D.C., would take note.

    Next time I fire up my quote system, I’ll screen capture some currency charts of relevant currencies vs. the yen and lob them to the admin of NR, for posting. ADMIN, if you read this and are NOT interested in such, please post response, and I’ll not bother. Fire with me either way, so pls let me know.

    • Ralf

      I hope you’re not suggesting that the US should build cameras? Would you really want a camera that resembled the US car fleet, noooooooooooo

      • Gary

        Did not even come close to such suggestion. My suggestion was the support of buy American – including by the government, as expressed by Os team 1-2 weeks ago, statement which we backed from when the french poodle yapped about – and in general cease the idiocity of sending manufacturing jobs overseas, instead of just the overflow available in boom times.

        An while there was not even a hint of making cameras here, there would be nothing wrong with learning to do so here. Start with some p&s, then work our way to high end.

  • akira

    f**k (NR admin: please no profanity) UK retail stores, I’d rather fly to Japan to get my lenses and spend a nice one-week holiday, still the whole trip + the cost of the lens will be lower than what it costs in f***ing UK retail store. F**k!

    • Anonymous

      I’d just like to point out that the pound will still be worth the same whether you buy in the UK or in Japan, however, the UK and Europe are expensive places to buy because of high sales tax and import duties.

      The best way to get a reduced price is to buy tax free. I say this because I live in Hong Kong, I visit my family in the UK every summer and I often go to Tokyo. The cheapest place of all three is Hong Kong. I think this is because there is no sales tax and no import duty.

      You can’t blame Nikon or high street shops for the higher prices. The massive currency changes we’ve seen recently are all about the problems in the global economy, for which we have greedy bankers and inadequate regulation to thank.

  • Trevor Nelmes

    1. The Pound has gotten slowly stronger against both the Dollar and Euro.
    2. The Yen may have gotten stronger, but the cost of the raw materials for these lenses has fallen dramatically too.

    As I understand it, optical quality glass is made using near pure glacial water from Korea, demand for which has plummeted as computer screen makers and TV’s have moved away from CRT’s.

    Steel has also fallen in price, as has plastic. I appreciate there will be a labour cost, but I doubt that would be high, as robotics will be used. Transport costs, especially air freight, is also much cheaper.

    • Anonymous

      Raw material costs are a fraction of the overall cost of a lens. The wages, pensions and healthcare of everyone involved in getting the lens from an idea into our hands is the major cost, plus you have energy, tooling and property costs. These make up the vast majority.

  • raio

    @jsmyth: correct! I have connections to Leica in Wetzlar (I live not far away from there) and they offer special “friends days” to old and new clients and so I get more information than others. You can have a talk with the constructors of the lenses, bodies etc. there, very interesting, even for people who use other brands.The digital R 10 will come out next year, probably with a ff sensor made by Kodak.
    @Zoetmb: the story with the different currencies is true in parts. We had times when the Yen was very weak; the prices for Nikon, Canon etc. didn´t go down at that time at all. Normally, a manufacaturer should hedge against a currency risk (e. g. Porsche did so last year and they made more mony with that game than with selling their cars.) So I think especially Nikon tries to make more money with the good reputation of their cameras (D700, D3, D3x, D90 …). Perhaps we would try to do so, too.

  • reverse logic

    Stuff Nikon, mothball the company until the economy recovers. Let them keep it on their shelves. The pound has risen 10% against the yen in the last few weeks and still they want to charge more? No way!

    • Tim Catchall

      These new UK prices are a joke. 200mm f2 at nearly £4000? You could buy that for £2k until recently. Such an increase is way beyond what would be justified by the fall in the pound. And as many have pointed out, materials, energy and shipping costs have fallen dramatically too. These should be passed on fully worldwide, which would offset some of the pain for those of us who live in anywhere in the world outside of Japan. If they carry on like this Leica gear is going to start looking cheap. And nice though Nikon lenses are, they aren’t close to what Leica can produce.

      • Anonymous

        Wages, the biggest cost, haven’t dropped so the basic product has increased due to FX changes and hedging. This is compounded by value-added duties and taxes. E.g. a 10% change in FX is turned into a 14% increase in price by the governments. Europe has too much government, plain and simple.

        And if you think things are bad now, wait for another drop in interest rates and the complete demise of Jessops. This is why companies have hedged their FX against a further decline in the pound and euro.

  • Vlad

    Prices in Japan didn’t change a bit since the whole economic crisis started. The dollar is at an average of ca. 91JPY now, it used to be well over the 110JPY before. The pound is quite low to where it used to be.

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