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Olympus Snubs Retailers, Sells Direct In OZ

By Oonagh Reidy | Friday | 31/05/2013

Troubled camera giant snubs retailers by going direct.

The Olympus online store won't be selling cameras, however, - it'll be an accessories-only affair.  

Olympus Imaging launched the online store in Australia yesterday, "to enable consumers to easily purchase accessories for their digital cameras."

Items on sale include Olympus Lens Caps, camera batteries and chargers. 

Olympus said it followed demand from customers for camera accessories often not kept in regular stock by many camera retailers due to the slower pace of demand for such items. 

It insists it will not be selling its cameras directly through its online store. 

In 2011, the Japanese giant was steeped in a management corruption crisis which left a massive hole in its finances. 

The company's full-year global sales to March 31 fell 12 per cent compared to 2011, according to figures released this month.  

Olympus also insists the web store will "add value" for its retailers as it doubles up as a web-based accessories catalogue retailers can display in-store for customers. 

However, retailers like Teds Cameras and JB Hi-Fi, which stocks a huge range of Olympus camera accessories, may not be happy by the move.  

"Retailers will continue to have the ability to stock all accessory products featured in the Olympus Store," the camera maker said in a statement yesterday.

By selling direct, the camera giant says it is "confident that it will increase [customer] satisfaction and confidence in the Olympus brand", which "will benefit our retail partners". 

"Olympus has, over many years, received a lot of feedback from camera owners who tell us that they often find it hard to purchase replacement or additional  accessories through retail stores," Joe Tizzone, Olympus Imaging national sales manager said

"We understand that our retail partners sometimes find it hard to stock these products efficiently as they are not considered to be fast-moving inventory, which still take up precious storage or retail space.

"Olympus knows that there will be many consumers who still prefer the personal, face-to-face, experience of purchasing camera products from their favourite retailer. 

"Having our full range of camera accessories easily browsable on a screen benefits both the store customer and the retailer."

An Olympus spokesperson reiterated to Channel News that it has no plans to sell cameras via its store and confirmed retailers were given advanced notification about the move. 

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