Kingsley Photographic Ltd, a family-run camera business which opened its first shop in London 50 years ago, will close this week as ‘spiralling rent’ and cheaper online competition takes its toll.
Kingsley, which is a Nikon Professional dealer, has gone into voluntary liquidation according to managing director Tim Stavrinou who told us: ?The main reasons are the rent which is getting very expensive, footfall is down and a lot of people are buying online.’
Stavrinou told us that the business is struggling to pay its bills, faced with £65,000 in annual rent and £24,000 a year in rates.
The shop, which employs five staff, will close on Friday, said Stavrinou who is baffled as to how independent high street shops continue to survive.
‘We can’t compete,’ added Stavrinou who pointed out that a camera costing £600 at his shop sells for ‘£450’ online.
‘I just woke up and said “I can’t do this anymore”.’
Kingsley currently operates one store, at 93 Tottenham Court Road, specialising in Nikon, Leica and Gitzo gear.
‘In the 23 years I’ve been in photographic retail I’ve seen it change from a friendly and open trade where we all made a nice living, to one of ridiculous margins and, of course, pressure from the internet.
‘Quality of service and a good knowledge base were the ideals we founded our principles on and, unfortunately, it seems that a lot of consumers and distributors today seem to understand the price of everything and the cost of nothing,’ he claimed.
First set up 50 years ago, as E.C Kingsley, the business initially ran two shops, both located on Tottenham Court Road.
Tim Stavrinou’s father, Steve, bought the business in 1984.