Ritz Camera filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today. Nikon is among the largest unsecured creditors with $26.6 million (source).
Circuit City's debt to Nikon was $14,926,445 - not sure what % of that was recovered.
I was wondering when that was going to happen.
hopefully NIKON THEMSELVES don’t file for bankruptcy.
idk what i’d do.
$26.6M? At what point do you stop shipping in product when they’re not paying? That’s a BOATLOAD of camera equipment!
You can get 3325 D3x cameras for that amount. Just imagine if B&H or Adorma go down one day…
Some stores have looong credit periods, esp. larger buyers. That could have been all the product they ordered for Christmas, for the whole chain, or even more.
I suppose since now manufacturers will take a lot more of caution when giving credits….
Ritz had a turnover of US$1billion last year. This year it’s expected to be around US$700million.
They need to cut costs to remain profitable at the lower level of turnover, however, if they do this quickly they are still a viable business and won’t have a problem getting alternative credit to meet their current debts. However, they need a bit of time to restructure so they file for protection in the meantime.
It’s a bit like running up a credit card bill that exceeds your monthly salary. You can move the debt on to another lender if you can show you will be good for it.
The big question mark here is can they restructure fast enough and hard enough to prove they will be good for the money, and is there enough credit out there for someone to lend them the money.
It doesn’t meant they won’t pay. It just means they get some protection and more time to pay.
Ritz could not continue business after this if they just wrote down their debts to canon, ninkon and other manufacturers since they would simply never get credit again from them and would soon be devoured by the competition.
Nikon may not recup all but it will get back enough to deal with ritz again in credit terms.
I always hated dealing with Ritz/Wolf Camera and now they are messing up big time! Goodness, when will all of this mayhem stop!
1)They give all stock traders a testosterone injection
2)When we all return to sound money
3)When the government inflates the bubble faster then it blows empty
4)When everybody strats spending now.
Unfortunately it seems the third route is being taken
Ritz Cameras should have gong bankruptcy already. What’s the meaning of its presence given that their prices are way higher than Amazon, no need to say the sales tax?
Ooopps thats a big ooopps. Oh Nikon please be stable. We want you to survive this crisis.
I guess, Nikon will announce at least 2-3 more price hikes within the next 2-3 months …………… Yep, we know the drill by now.
I can’t speak of others, but the service at the one by us, ssssssuuuuucckkkkeeeeeddd, and that was providing you got the better clerks. But then, where is service good anymore, few occasional exceptions notwithstanding?
Back in the film days, I could count on having the order done at least twice, just to get it half right. Their system was down at lest once per week.
Eventually it catches up.
Just my opinion.
The stores by us were 2-3 times the size they should have been.
Are you ignorant or so?
Nikon is Japanese, and to get Nikon’s products somewhere in the chain the USD / GBP / EUR what you are paying are traded for JPY (currency of Japan). The JPY appears to be very strong hence you get less JPY for the USD / EUR / GBP. So the prices stay equal.
“Are you ignorant or so?”
You must have been looking in the mirror when writing this.
When you learn to communicate in a civilized manner, come-back for a lesson in trading, until then, go pound salt., for don’t deserve anything but to be ignored…… at best.
I have worked for Ritz for four years now, From what I hear, We used to use Wachovia as our bank. However, when Wachovia failed, we were picked up by Wells Fargo, and they are very tight with our credit. Most of our stores are very slim pickings on the merchandise ie: Nikon inventory is very, VERY low. Ritz has been trying to go public, but that has not worked yet. I was also informed that Boaters World, as the article mentioned, had serious problems and Ritz put most of its resources into fixing it, leaving the camera side vulnerable.
With that said I think the company can pull through this if they become smarter. Personally, I hope they can Boaters World, and Make smarter decisions in what they sell, and the REALLY need to have more INTELLIGENT buyers, who know the areas better and what sells where.
Since you work there now, I want to put in my two cents’ advice as a former Ritz employee (more than ten years ago). I know that management probably doesn’t want to hear it, but the chain’s employees need to remember those customers who come in regularly, and recognize the long-term contribution they can make to your success. Most of the time these ustomers are just buying film, or a filter, or some other small item. You can’t sell a D3 every time someone walks in the door. I may only want to buy a camera bag; if that’s the case, sell me a good camera bag, without disrespecting me. I’ve sometimes had great service at a Ritz/Wolf Camera store, but unfortunately this has only been when I was spending lots of money. When a customer who is in your store every couple weeks, who has spent literally thousands of dollars there over the years, suddenly stops coming in, the reason is that the customer (me, in this case) no longer feels welcome. If I come into your store, you should greet me. If I ask you a question, you should answer me. If I spend thirty minutes looking at camera bags, you should take the time to walk over and see what kind of bag we want. In that example, we finally walked out and that was the last time I’ve been in a Ritz store. If I want to buy something, you should sell it to me, no matter how inexpensive it is. If you treat an intelligent customer like he/she is stupid, they will go elsewhere. Every customer is important, and each time a customer feels mistreated, they will tell fourteen people; if a customer has a good experience, they will tell one person. If you fail to please your customer, they remember it. I realize this is not the only thing contributing to the bankruptcy claim, but customer service means that the customer comes first. Ritz has mostly forgotten that and they are paying the price.
It was a matter of time, they were horrible. You can’t blame Wells Fargo or the lack of intelligent customers.
PMA must show power and potential in current of this year for main holders a DSLR’s market
Maybe Ritz needs to be run by some ultra-orthodox Jews like B&H.
I believe Nikon will be able to make it through this storm – unlike Ritz and Circuit City, which observed a shift in the way consumers were buying electronics and cameras/film products prior to the credit crisis, Nikon is a key player in what has been a major growth market for the last few years. The demand for imaging equipment has never been higher, unfortunately, the demand for local retail has never been lower. It is unfortunate that Nikon, Canon etc will be hurt by the failure of some of these firms, but that is the price of doing business. The retail world, like many other sectors especially publishing, is moving online, fast. If I had to find a thread that linked Circuit City and Ritz Camera it would be that both companies seemed to go out of their way to have a poor shopping experience online.
Well if Ritz would lower there super high prices on lenses and had a good online service maybe they would be fine. But they stink. So I say, so long and I won’t miss them at all.
This isn’t really a surprise, as the store I work at has been low in stock since after Christmas. It’s also unfortunate to hear that so many people have had bad experiences with Ritz, and that probably comes from having more stores per square mile than Starbucks with huge variations in quality customer service. I know that my store doesn’t scam customers, recommends good products, discourages the bogus info like megapixel myth, and provides excellent service to anyone who comes in the door, but every week I hear horror stories of some of the dozen plus other stores within 20 minutes from mine.
It sucks that our prices are higher than online stores, but that’s part of being a nationwide chain with employees to pay that will help you with your product after it’s purchased. You can’t walk in to an Amazon store and get hands-on help using your D40 or printing your pictures.
Back when I was looking at D3′s, my girlfriend and I were at a shopping center where there was a Ritz. She wanted to see the expensive camera I had been raving about for months, so we popped into the store. The salesman said I couldn’t even hold it unless I committed to buying it right then.
The prices were ridiculously high and it seems it’s more for P&S type of cameras and customers that don’t do ANY online research. No wonder they’ve gone belly up.
Stores only get maybe ONE D3, if they’re lucky, and they need to keep it in the box for the rare pro who comes in demanding to buy one on the spot. You can’t get pros to buy stuff that’s been out of a box, so they can’t use that camera as a display model.
I had a similar experience when I asked to test drive a new Honda a couple years ago. I was told that I could only test drive the car if I agreed to buy it BEFORE the test drive. Since this defeats the purpose of the test drive, I bought a Mazda instead.
When the F5 came out, I rushed to a Ritz Camera to see one. The sales clerk let me handle it, and it was brand new, and I was no pro at that time. The sales clerk described above lost a sale, pure and simple. It’s called customer service, and as I said in my previous post, most clerks at Ritz wouldn’t recognize that skill set if it kicked them in the shin.
I don’t buy that argument. B&H has D3s on display for customers to hold and feel. Seems to me your store didn’t want to invest in display models.
For a physical store to survive the web (ignoring the economy for the moment), they must offer differentiation. If they can’t compete on price, they must compete on service. B&H does this very well. At a time that you think that physical stores might retrench, B&H doubled the size of their physical store. They have fairly knowledgeable salespeople (no minimum wage part-time kids working on the floor), decent prices and incredibly deep stock. You walk in there and they have up to 90 people working on the camera floor at any given time. I find that incredible.
However, the one thing B&H doesn’t let you do is open the box and try the camera that you’re buying. What they tell you is to open it at home and if it doesn’t work, to bring or send it back.
I think this is a very tough time for all physical retail. The web and the economy have conspired to kill off both chain and local retail. Some of them deserved it, because they provided nothing, but others did not. But now we’re going to have a lot of main streets and suburban malls with lots of empty storefronts. This is the price we pay for making buying decisions based only on the cheapest price we can find on the web.
Thanks for the inside scoop, employee. Sheesh, I *just* ordered something from ritz last night ($50 cheaper than BH/adorama)! I wonder how long it will take to get it.
It won’t surprise me if you get a email in a couple days saying it was back ordered or canceled. This is when the fun games come in that Ritz plays with you. That’s why I just pay the extra $50 from B&H or Adorama and I get no games and awesome service.
Check out ritz here for horror story’s, http://www.resellerratings.com/
I wish you good luck.
So, once again the whole world will pay for mistakes in US. So far almost all of the Nikon gear went up by 30% in my country, and I guess there’s gonna be at least one more price increase in the upcoming months.
On the other hand, I’m surprised what Anon and Bungo Pony posted, that stores are getting only one D3 and You are not allowed to look at camera until You declare that You are gonna buy it. Everyboody knows that to let client touch the products is the best way to sell it.
Don’t blame this on the U.S. This is a world issue. Every country in the world does business the same way the US does business. It was simply a matter of time before the current economic practices failed. When companies run on debt, it will always be a bubble. All countries and companies run in this fashion. Debt is always bound to fail when there is no incentive to pay it off.
Countries, at least the US, doesn’t have to run like a company. National debt is a totally different beast than personal type of debt.
Spend a few hours there. This website is several years old and the book he’s pitching was first published in 1996, so don’t think this is just some whacko site that sprang up over night. Far from it.
Check the exchange rates…
Over the last week or so, the dollars has been substantially increasing against the Yen. Nikon had projected the last fiscal quarter of this year to be at 90 Yen to the dollar, but as of today, it’s over 94 yen.
Based on that, we should NOT see further price increases in the U.S. Today’s dollar is giving Nikon 5% more than they predicted.
>> Everyboody knows that to let client touch the products is the best way to sell it.
Yeah, we know that. It’s why we put cameras on display if we’ve got multiples. We keep the D3 in the box for the same reason that a Nissan dealer wouldn’t let just anyone walk in off the street and test drive the new GT-R.
That’s not rational. As a sales professional you need to remember that you are there to sell, not to protect your inventory from the customer. A long time ago, when I worked at Ritz, I had a big sale when a customer came in telling me that the local camera/pawn shop wouldn’t show her a Nikon they had “because they said it was too expensive for her.” I sold that woman a brand-new Nikon N90s, with grip and two lenses, and yes, I did let her handle it first. When the idiot at the now out of business pawn shop told her he wouldn’t show it to her because he knew she couldn’t afford it, he lost a sale instantly. End of story. No offense, and no ill will towards you, but I expect Ritz to go out of business someday soon.
That’s true enough. If someone way genuinely interested in getting the D3, I’d be more than happy to go get it out for them. It’s people who just are coming in to play with it that have no intention of buying it that I won’t get it out for.
This is pretty far fetched anyways. I think I’ve had less than five people in all of last year even ask if we had a D3, and all that seriously were shopping for one got to try it out.
I don’t blame Ritz for not letting a D3 out for people to play with. If I were to go buy a $5000 camera it better have a click count of zero…
It is a shame that Ritz and others can’t compete with online stores. I just bought a 70-200mm 2.8 from Be**h Camera for $1699, Ritz had it for $2115. I would like to support the local b&m stores, but that is a huge difference. I don’t mind paying a little extra but OUCH.
Ya know, no sympathy. If Ritz stores (2 in my town) all close, I will miss the occasional stop in a pinch to pick up a filter or something. But in general, the chain deserves it. They sell low quality junk Quantaray merchandise, cheap tripods, half the store is picture frames, they have lousy stock and they cannot develop pictures accurately. We had to return an order 2 times (total of 3 printings) to Ritz to print them without green casts (not in the source files). They have terrible color correction policies (mine are all adjusted yet they insist on “fixing” them against my will). Their prices are the absolute highest MSRP among retailers. Ritz sucks. They deserve what they are getting.
I just went to RitzCamera.com and they were total jerks, trying to convince me to get the D60 instead of the D40 (the superior camera).
But get this…want to know how much they are charging for the D60? About $649.
How about the D40? Get this: $599
Are you f***g kidding me? I can find the D40 in CANADA for $440 at many, many stores. That is like a $200+ price difference if you take the currency rates into consideration!
RitzCamera is a joke.
most people shop online and can get better deals. it’s not realistic to operate stores, pay so much overhead in today’s competitive markets & todays economy
Ritz / ProEx used to have 4 locations in downtown Mpls (MN) they closed 3 of the 4 2 years ago. The one they kept open was the lamest of the 4. Sales staff there knows nothing beyond print pickup and P/S and they don’t even know those that well. I stopped going there when the clerk started to cry because he – yes – HE – couldn’t figure out how to ring up a magazine!
Hopefully this means that the cheap ProEx Studios will close soon and eliminate competition for portraits, seniors etc….
The bankruptcy may mean very little for Nikon. It is standard business practice to insure or factor large accounts like this one and with Circuit City, particularly when selling abroad.
yes, but there is still a chance that they may not see all or part of their money
A slim chance to be fair.
These companies are not bankrupt. They are have filed for protection from their debts but that doesn’t mean they are out of business. In both this case and Circuit City the companies are continuing to trade while restructuring and refinancing. They restructure to get the refinance, and they refinance to pay companies like Nikon who don’t want/can’t give them credit anymore.
It’s not good news but it is not a disaster unless you are one of the victims of the restructuring.
It seems Circuit City couldn’t get re-financed and are currently liquidating their asset,s so Nikon etc will get a % of the debt paid and perhaps claim the rest on their insurance ?
Well, Nikon won’t go under. Most of these companies are brick and mortar companies, retail stores and such. Web companies usually lack massive inventories and usually deal with JIT technologies and lean practices. This means that you order your lens, they pack yours out of their minimal inventory and then order 1.1 – 1.5 more of the item based on age usually. A place like B&H doesn’t have a warehouse full of D3′s, they might have many of them (probably the amount it takes them to sell in 3 days or something like that. Nikon is not a retail company. They don’t have to wait on a customer to come into their store. So, when retail outlets fail, they lose money from inventory on credit but they usually get all their cameras that have not sold back… etc. Also, if Jimbo wants a Nikon, he will still go somewhere to get it, most likely he will buy from a web store front… you do not see a lot of web storefronts collapsing because they don’t really have to pay massive rents if massive traffic isn’t coming. They can basically adjust the rent they have to pay month to month.
Now. I think in the end we will see a collapse of many retail brick and mortar storefronts. Mom and Pop camera stores might survive based on loyal customers, but I doubt it. I shop entirely online now, except for groceries of course.
Ok. Sorry to blabber on. But I just wanted to let people know that smart production companies that are not bloated and have stayed ahead of the curve are not threatened. Nikon is not going to collapse, not even a chance really. In all honesty, bigger, bloated companies will collapse first. Nikon is not a bloated, greedy company. They are very effective. Right now they have balanced out at a level they were at in 2004. They did have a really fast fall for 6 months. Shares in Nikon sit at almost $100 USD. There are no people selling off their Nikon shares en masse. No worries.
I’ve never really had a problem with Ritz. Bought the D200 and D300 from them (using a buyer’s program — mypoints.com — essentially cash back on the camera). It sold for the same price everyone else was selling it for.. plus free shipping, price deduction for the sales tax. And I got the first round of shipping on the D300.
The retail stores — meh. But, I don’t think I’ve bought any camera gear at a retail store in many, many moons. Retail camera stores are really there for the point-and-shoot crowd.. but they’re mostly going to Wal*mart, Target, etc.
I guess my only beef with Ritz was that when I ordered both of those bodies, they *immediately* called to confirm the order — once that was at around midnight.
If Ritz closed all of their retail stores, I’d still probably buy the D400/D800 from them. For accessories and lenses, I tend to go to B&H, though.
What about this….
Thanks for the link.
To quote them “A number of people have reported that Nikon’s $26M+ claim and Canon’s $13M+ claim against Ritz will result in a total loss to these companies. Not true.”
They explan why and how and it seems very credible, deliberately non-contentious reporting.
Of course, we have to wait and see. Perhaps Nikon should start a line of crystal balls….
You Americans, and partly Europeans too, need to shift from CONSUMING to HARD WORK/PRODUCING economy. To lower tax will only make it worse -> more consuming/importing. It needs hard work to get America out of this mess: that is produce and sell more than you consume. Asian countries did that for a long time.
You could start the way all these people producing what you are consuming do: work at 1 USD/hour 6-7 days a week. Stop thinking about how to get that new shining new car every two years, new flat screen TV-set every year, and yes every single top-of-the-line CAMERA and LENS that Nikon can produce.
And no cheap tricks like that Maddoff dumbass.
And what lifestyle do you think they are shooting for? The one you described. They’re just at the beginning. You can’t be productive, sell more than you consume, AND have all the stuff you want, when someone else in the world will do it for less. And when the Chinese get theirs, it will be some other 3rd world entity that will do to them what they did to the US. And it will be their fault, just like it was the US’s “fault” for empowering China. So either you approve of the cycle, or you don’t. If you don’t, then economies cannot grow. If economies cannot grow then the world population needs to stop increasing. That isn’t going to be a big hit with a lot of people…
It’s not certain that a chains like Circuit City and Ritz won’t reappear when the financial markets start to work again. However, do we really need them? I grieve for the “mom & pop” camera stores that are gone because they gave help to new photographers.
IMO, Nikon would be well advised to open up a number of places similar to those of Sony Style so that people can see, touch, fiddle with, and ask questions about their products and then go buy them over the Internet or at Best Buy. I never went into a Ritz where anyone really knew cameras or what the printer was doing. (If your local Ritz was better, I’m sorry if I’ve insulted you.)
Let’s not forget that giant B&H is a single, independent store that makes a modest margin on a large volume because of excellent service. The closest we have here in S. California is Samy’s Camera, not as good as B&H, Adorama, or Abe’s of Maine (actually of NJ), but quite worthy of staying in business, especially because of their rental program at all six (I think) branches.
Interestingly, if Ritz and Wolf actually do close permanently, the only camera store left in the Charlotte, NC area will be Biggs Camera, an independent store that’s been around since the late 1950′s and is family owned. It’s my understanding that they had a great year last year, especially now that the other two independents in the area (Charlotte Camera and Camera World of NC) have both closed. If it helps Biggs Camera prosper, I’d love to see Wolf go away for good.
I’m in Raleigh NC, and we’ve got a similar situation–if Wolf/Ritz goes, the only brick & mortar stores left (of which I am aware) will be our two indie shops, Peace Camera and Southeastern Camera. Personally I’ve always shopped at them (either one depending on where I am in town at the time) as opposed to Ritz, for both selection of items and knowledge of the staff.
PS – Best Buy does operate stores in Charlotte, but they don’t count IMHO.
If you want to learn about photography, do you go into a store, or do you go to google? If you want a book, you can buy that online too.
Things change. And they will continue to.
In light of today’s news regarding Ritz Camera filing for Chapter 11 protection, all consumers (professionals alike) need to ask themselves a few questions regarding the value they place on brick and mortar stores, as well as value-added resellers in general. Over the past several years, consumers have seen a drastic reduction in the number of storefronts where they can visit to make an electronics purchase. The demise of Circuit City, the GoodGuys, CompUSA, Tweeter, Harvey Electronics, countless mom-n-pop stores, (the list goes on), etc, has reduced the number of places one can shop.
Although the specific reasons many of these companies fail can be attributed to factors beyond consumer spending habits, I can safely say we are all PART of the reason many of these businesses fail. Many consumers compare prices and usually buy from a company that offers the lowest price. Many consumers lose sight of the value of paying a higher price. There are many reasons one might want to pay a higher price, such as post-sale service.
Who do you ask questions regarding defective merchandise? Who do you ask for technical service? Who do you ask for basic advice on how to use your product more effectively? Or how about this one… Should I buy it from the friendly, knowledgeable salesperson that helped me make a good decision on what to buy? Or should I take money from his/her pocket by wasting their time, purchasing online and save $x.00?
I know most consumers are not interested in the overhead costs that retailers pay. Most consumers do not make a distinction between online stores versus brick-n-mortar stores. We do not see that operating a 100,000 square foot warehouse with 10 warehouse employees costs a lot less than operating 20 5,000 square foot retail stores, staffed with 5 employees each. Additionally, retail overhead costs in decent neighborhoods are much higher than warehouse overhead costs in blighted districts or superfund sites.
So the question consumers need to ask themselves are:
a. How much more am I willing to pay to buy it locally?
b. Is tax revenue important enough to buy it locally?
c. Is it important to support a local business (large or small), hoping to ensure they will be around to service your future needs?
Granted, not all local businesses deserve the support of a conscientious consumer. But many others do!
I know that although people have bad experiences at certain Ritz stores (myself included) this is a bad thing for photography and consumers.
In many areas, Ritz is the only local camera store.
There simply are not that many mom & pop camera shops anymore because Best buy, Circuit City, Online Sales and Ritz put them out.
Although Ritz was part of the problem, they do have a purpose as a place you can lay you hands on a piece of equipment, try it and buy it immediately (assuming they have it in stock!) and not wait for shipping. Some people like this and do shop at Ritz.
I think their failure is two-fold, Firstly over expansion (as one poster mentions above) whether it was through opening new stores or acquisitions. Heck in Orlando FL, there is a Ritz in the mall and a Wolf/Ritz across the street several hundred yards away. I have never figured that out.
Secondly not recognizing the importance of online sales and being competitive, Ritz online would not entertain price matching with Adorama or B&H and in addition their stores would not match their online price?
I feel bad for tenured employees of Ritz as this will have to lead to economizing, store closings, employee layoffs etc. I’m sure they are stressed and my heart goes out to them and their families.
I do want to add that I live in Tampa Bay, Fl and several of the Ritz stores in my area provide excellent, friendly knowledgeable support including Clearwater and Citrus Park although from posters comments this may be in the minority!
My 2 cents.
Yah, but the ironic thing is…I do go to Ritz to try/handle merchandise before buying it. But then, I got home and order it online from B&H, Calumet, Adorama, J&R, etc. So I do use them for that, but I go home and save money. For instance, when I bought my D300 last August, I wanted to handle it. I went to Ritz, tried it out. Rits was selling it for $1799. I went home and bought it online from Hunts for $1625. What can I say. I am a consumer at heart. I have no loyalty. Few companies deserve loyalty (and Ritz is not one of them). Price and service win.
This just happened again with my 10.5 f/2.8 fisheye last month (before the Nikon price increase). Ritz: selling it for $775. I went home and ordered it from J&R for $575. Ouch.
Plus, their web site sucks and returns all kinds of junk that doesn’t match my search. You can almost always count on them for the highest price on anything desirable to buy. I am shopping a D700 body now. They just recently started reflecting the Nikon $300 savings to price it at $2700. B&H: it is $2450 now. Ouch again! These are not small differences.
Very interesting comments about being a consumer with no loyalty. What really grabbed my attention was your comment about “Price and Service win”. Although I see a clear difference in the “Price” aspect, where B&H and J&R were lower in price, how did B&H and J&R outperform Ritz on the “Service” end of it? B&H nor J&R gave you the opportunity of holding the camera body or lens. There HAS to be some value attributed to that.
I’m just curious, how much would one be willing to pay to “handle” a product? If a retail store knew you had no intention of buying from them, but decided to charge you $5 to touch something you would ultimately buy online, would that be fair? I wouldn’t think so.
It’s similar to the industry of consultants. Consultants usually do not sell products, but sell you the value of their ability to help you make decisions, whatever they may be. Retail stores deserve so much more from consumers. Consumers too often fail to recognize the VALUE of having a tactile experience prior to making a purchase.
I have been a die hard Nikon user for 25 years now. It seems to me that they are making poor choices in their distribution of product to failing companies. With that being said, I hope that they have not bitten off more than they can chew with Ritz sticking them for over 26 million. The last thing that I would ever want to do is be forced to use Canon!
kind of funny that the ritz camera web site’s banner is saying “10th anniversary 1999-2009 and still going strong” seems a little funny to me.
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