Toronto-based Henry's Camera has acquired L.L. Lozeau, based in Montreal, in a deal that will now make Henry's the largest photographer retailer in Canada. According to Retail Insider, a purchase amount is not known for the acquisition.
Lozeau, which operates its headquarters from busy St-Hubert St. in downtown Montreal, has become known for photofinishing and wedding photography, camera and accessories sales, and for its staff's high level of expertise. Manon Lozeau-Simard, which has been managing the company since 1973 alongside his wife, says the sale will "ensure the store continues to thrive and jobs are safe in the years to come," particularly in an industry like photography that is "undergoing constant change."
While sales figures for products like mirrorless cameras are stable, categories like point & shoot cameras have been seeing steady decline. The Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) said last April that camera shipments had dropped worldwide by about 28%, with the sale of cameras with built-in lenses dropping by nearly 45%. In 2017, the Canadian Imaging and Trade Association (CITA) reported that 569,000 cameras were shipped to Canadian retailers, down 3% from 2016, and with most of the decline in the sub-$200 point & shoot camera space.
Smartphone makers continue to up their game with smartphone cameras that rival even premium dedicated cameras. And given the convenience of always having a phone in your pocket, the average consumer is using that device to take more photos than ever.
There are bright spots and opportunities, however. Cameras with built-in Wi-Fi accounted for 78% of the overall market in 2017, said CITA, while interchangeable lens cameras, including both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, grew a modest 0.4%.
And photography remains a passion for pros and a budding hobby for many enthusiasts and potential enthusiasts who are looking for something more than a phone that can snap shots. There's also a growing market for accessories, from tripods to lenses, as well as photographic accessories for smartphones, like clip-on lenses, video gear like point-of-view cameras, and emerging tech, like drones. There are service opportunities for photographic retailers as well, including passport and family photos, large-format prints, and events like weddings, graduations, and milestone birthdays continue to require professional photography services.
Lozeau says his parents are looking to retire, while he and his brother will shift focus to another family-owned business they have been running for decades. Henry's, also a family-owned business, currently operates 28 stores, most in Ontario, along with two in B.C., one in Manitoba, and one in Nova Scotia. This acquisition, then, will also mark Henry's entrance into the Quebec market. L.L. Lozeau has a single location.
Gillian Stein, CEO of Henry's, says the acquisition was made to continue the growth and expansion of the retailer. With the acquisition, 125 Lozeau employees will also retain their positions. Stein says she's "thrilled" to come to the agreement with such a well-respected brand, noting that Lozeau has the "same DNA, core values, and quality of customer experience."
The Lozeau named will be retained in Quebec until the transaction is finalized, after which it is presumed that the store will become a Henry's Camera location. This detail, however, has not yet been confirmed.
Gillian Stein, CEO, Henry's
L.L. Lozeau was founded in 1927 by Leo Laurent Lozeau, and initially offered wedding photography and photofinishing services. Along with expanding its product and service offerings over the years, and eventually retiring black and white photofinishing, the retailer moved to its 36,000 square-foot headquarters in 2004, and added e-commerce to its website in 2008. In 2013, the company added a professional video and rental space, then brought drones into the product mix in 2014. It also sells drones, and offers workshops on a variety of photography-related topics.
Henry's, meanwhile, was established in 1909 by Harry Himelstein as a watch and jewelry business. As that industry became somewhat stagnant in the ‘50s, Harry's son Gerald took over the business, and in 1959, added photographic equipment to the stores, starting with four rolls of 8mm movie film. In 2015, Gillian Stein, Gerald Stein's granddaughter, took over as CEO. Over the years, Henry's has expanded its number of stores both in Ontario and into other provinces, and added new product categories like drones, point-of-view cameras, mobile accessories, and even mobile phones. The retailer also began to offer classes and workshops for enthusiasts, as well as a professional services division.