Ritz Camera Is Back?

In a surprising move, Ritz Camera emerged from bankruptcy and is now trying to reinvent itself. The retailer, which pretty much exclusively sold camera equipment in its past, will now offer laptops, flat-screen televisions and DVD players.

The chain, which was once 800 stores strong, is now at around 300 units. But Ritz actually opened five stores this year and management plans to open the same amount in 2010.

It’s nice that a chain with a fairly significant amount of stores can reorganize in this environment and is trying change its business plan to survive. And the company is opening stores!

But does this new look for Ritz ensure longevity?


7 Responses to “Ritz Camera Is Back?”

  1. 1 Gabriel Rizk December 30, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Only time can tell. This would’ve been a wise move for Ritz during a market “boom,” but we’ll see if there is enough consumer demand for Ritz to do well and be competitive with retailers like Wal Mart and Best Buy.

  2. 2 Don December 30, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I think the timing is right for Dave. A move toward a more expansive product mix will allow him to compete more effectively as long as he remembers what brought him to the dance. It appears that he has got ample store locations and should be able to get favorable pricing. Nonetheless I wish him much success.

    Don Gurney

  3. 3 l Miller December 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    sorry Ritz is prolonging the enevitable Camera stores and 1 hour photos are not going to survive
    T.V. sets and computers!!!! haven’t they heard of WalMart!!!!!

  4. 4 Ray December 31, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Another TV and techno-widgets retailer, huh?

    The core Ritz customer is the advanced amateur shooter. He (’cause it’s usually he) is a gadget-freak, so there is some sense to this move, but there is also the distinct liability of losing their unique selling proposition.

    Study the evolution of B&H PHOTO/VIDEO/PRO AUDIO. Sans the professional distinction, there are lessons to be learned from them. B&H has fewer outlets, but they have successfully integrated online sales, adding nicely to their bottom line.

    Go online and read the independent user comments, their market loves them!

    B&H is “The Professional’s Source”; Ritz is, or should be, the “Advanced Hobbyist Source”. Those guys like to play with the merch and talk specs with knowledgeable salespeople before they plunk down a lump of cash.

    Does anybody remember Spiratone? Fred Spira captured the progenitors of this market with defraction filters, home labs, and kitschy photo stuff you couldn’t find anywhere else.

    Get them in the store and hook them with eblasts that go light on pitch and thick on how-to editorial. And lots of pictures, real pictures, not just product shots. Right now the RitzCamera website could have Walmart in the banner and no one would notice.

    Start or support local enthusiast’s clubs. High school and community college programs.

    Finally yes, everybody takes pictures; snap & shoots sell at 1,000 to 1 over more complicated photo equipment, but every retailer can’t be everything to everybody; Ritz has roots. Find’em.

  5. 5 Broker January 5, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I wish them the best and hope they survive but they look a lot like roadkill on the tech superhighway.

  6. 6 Market Participant January 6, 2010 at 12:20 am

    I don’t see Ritz as being successful again because of the brutal depreciation of inventory and lack of customer base. Seriously who buys photo equipment at Ritz Camera? The NYC pro shops (B&H Adorama) are much more competitive for photo equipment, and other retailers are more competitive for printing consumables.

  7. 7 GR January 6, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    It is nice to hear that Ritz is trying to come back
    but some concerns about merchandising. EVERYONE is selling displays,computer equipment,and ipod accessories.Also has left a bad taste in customers who shopped at the now closed stores.
    They will have to address getting their preevious regular customersto have a foundation for growththey will need to have a different approach than office depot,office max and best buy in order to succeed selling simmilar products. Can they be price competitive?Will they have deeper selections or betterquality equipment? betterinformed salespersons?

    Time will tell.

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