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UK prices – a steep climb ahead

This is a very short post. I’ve been talking to a few directors of importing companies in the UK over the last few days, as people return from holidays which many in the photo industry take in early January. The word is this: while prices right now, and at Focus on Imaging 2009 Feb 22-25 show, may remain low and even be cut to liquidate existing stock, the rises which will hit us in mid-2009 will knock the wind out of you.

To quote one importer: “In 2008 the Yen went up by over 40 per cent against the pound. It’s still rising. In order to cover a 35 per cent increase in landed costs the SRP of our products may have to rise as much as 50 per cent”.

Already, in January, the dealer price of Alpha 900 bodies has increased enough to put the street price back to its original level and a further increase should return it to almost the original SRP by March.

Be warned – the 10-15% increases implemented by Canon, Nikon, Sony and others this month will be followed by equal installments. Even if the pound makes dramatic gains against all other currencies there will be a period of high prices and some reluctance to drop them as rapidly.

Our advice to anyone who has been waiting for prices to fall as the recession cuts deeper, is grab anything you see which appears to be a fire sale price and fits your planned system building. There will be bargains – several large chains will be forced to realise the value of stock in hand rapidly or go out of business. Those bargains will not be repeatable and will not last for 2009 or until “the economy picks up again”. In Britain at least you have a window of a month or two, and some things you planned to buy in 2008 but didn’t will already cost you more if you can find them.

– DK


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