6711 Ritz Way, Beltsville, Md. 20705
David Ritz, Chairman
Annual Sales (CE): $424 million
Product Mix: Film and digital photography equipment, photofinishing services.
Beltsville, Md.— At a time when traditional photo specialty dealers have lost ground in the digital marketplace to CE retailers, Ritz Camera has gone after the digital photography market with gusto.
The specialty chain is anchored by an aggressive digital printing strategy which combines self-service kiosks, digital minilabs and Internet print services in an effort to corral digital camera purchasers back in-store to make prints from their digital images.
The company has grown largely on the back of its high-margin photofinishing business, and expanded its national footprint. In October of 2001, Ritz completed the acquisition of its major national rival Wolf Camera. The purchase gave Ritz a presence in 48 states and the District of Columbia.
The company spun off an e-commerce arm called Ritz Interactive in 1999, which runs the flagship RitzCamera.com as well as former foes PhotoAlley.com and CameraWorld.com. It launched the full-line CE site RitzElectronics.com in 2002.
According to Ritz Interactive CEO Fred Lerner, certain products, particularly digital cameras, lend themselves to online purchasing. Indeed, digital camera sales have buoyed Interactive through the dot-com implosion of 2000, which claimed the lives of many competitors.
For Ritz Camera, the focus today is on developing digital printing. The company has invested heavily in digital printing equipment from Fujifilm and is positioning itself to be a leader in digital printing when (or if) mass market consumers return to retail for their printing needs.