They can claim they were killed by the grey market but the rot set in when they tried to become a photography lifestyle store rather than a camera shop. The level of knowledge they used to be known for is not in any of the branches local to me any more.
They were probably always doomed if they wanted to stay the size they were. Back in 1998 I bought the missus a camera for Christmas at Jessops in Swindon and they were very helfpul - it was a really good but basic camera that still used film. Then I bought her a fairly basic digital camera at Jessops when digital cameras were just coming onto the market. Again, they were very helpful.
Now, she carries a camera all the time - it is easily as good as that first digital camera I bought her. It arrived through the post from Vodafone and comes with a built in phone.
Increasingly, your average man on the street who just wants to take holiday snaps and pictures of his kids in the park doesn't need a camera. They have a phone just handy all the time. There probably aren't enough people who do want a decent, specialist camera to sustain a chain like Jessops.
That's just the way it is. It won't mean the end of specialist camera shops altogether, as there'll always be a demand to sustain some, but it will mean the end for lots of them. And you'll probably have to travel to the big cities to find them, they won't be on your local high street.
Sad, but there you go. The world moves on.
It's desperately sad for the Jessops workforce of course and they'll have my sympathy for another few weeks. After that they'll be workshy, curtains closed, benefits fiddling, scrounging bastards that sponge off the taxpaying, hard working strivers like me. I'll probably spit at them if I see them in the street. They should be ashamed to go out in public.