CityAM: Leica UK sees slower sales despite new camera launch

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This comes from cityam.com:

"Leica Camera, which is owned by German parent company Leica AG and distributes cameras in the UK, reported a 12 per cent dip in turnover for the year ending March 2013, to £13m from £14.9m a year ago. This fed into a 16 per cent fall in gross profits and smaller profits before tax of £561,000 for the year, according to accounts."

I am just not sure where CityAM got that financial information since Leica is no longer a publicly traded company and I seriously doubt they would disclose their financial statements, especially if they are not positive.

Update: CityAM emailed me and confirmed that they got the information from Leica house filings (www.companieshouse.gov.uk), which I guess are mandatory for private companies in the UK.

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  • EJPB

    Leica is a bit adventurer story. I never believe the stories of shortages, too much demand of the M, they are just intended to increase the price. All the time, that’s Leica. But let’s hope they are not approaching the end of their realm, look around the corner, there is Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic,… maybe not fully having the same quality of (manual) glass, but making cameras that are really up to 2014′s expectations & standards – without having to rely on very exotic outsourcing of electronic R&D and manufacturing. It’s not the first European manufacturer – unless its excellent knowledge and high quality products – that would disappear thinking the world would just last forever as it is today. It is even very possible that Leica has passed the point at which the market would still be interested in a more affordable interchangeable mirror less camera system.

    • NoMeJodas

      Don’t worry Leica will not disappear soon. IMO they are doing the right thing. They know their customers and their needs very well and take care of them (unlike CaNikon). Every time Fuji, Sony or whoever brings new MILC to the market you’ll see tons of comments in the internet calling this or that product “the Leica killer” and prophesying the doom of Leica LOL. Now the Fuji X-system is 2 years old and Leica is still around. Sony’s A7(r) is in no way a threat. I suspect that they are actually pushing Leica’s lens sales. Just check out Flickr & Co and see for yourself how many photographers use Leica’s lenses with cameras from other companies.
      BTW keeping the price high is not always a bad thing because it keeps the value of the gear you already invested in! A few days ago I’ve seen in Ebay a 135mm Leica lens which was built in 1966! sell for about 1500EUR! Don’t try this with your CaNikon at home!

      • EJPB

        Let’s hope Leica is on the right track. There is missing a lot in their businessmodel to make it financially a solid company. I’m afraid after a few near-bankrupcies they survived more by luck than by strategy. Also because the luxury-aspect appeals to certain investors, that see in Leica a kind of ‘style and hype’ sidekick for some spare money. But the true technology content of Leica is very limited versus al the others, it is more an advanced optical and fine mechanics company than a camera brand, maintaining a very strict kind of engineering and manufacturing that is typically German. Precision works. If they invest money, they do it in…Sinar ??? Wrong choice, if the heart of what you are doing has to be developed and manufactured by others,…focus on that one. The Leica fans will never take that statement serious, but it’s one of the major reasons I stopped considering buying Leica stuff, also seen the immense investments you have to make. They can laugh at what Fuji, Sony, Olympus, Nikon and Canon are doing, but even in worst crisis they will never disappear because they have the cutting edge resources to rethink and reshape their markets at a fly, basically they are ‘too big too fail’. The return value… I like that one. I’ve had in my life a massive number of objects theoretically worth quite some money until I tried to sell them, then suddenly I ended up with not just giving them away, there was always something wrong with it. Be serious, it isn’t always that easy. One unfortunate scratch on the wrong place or a serial number in a wrong range may ruin a lot of money. What I spend, is what I know.

        • NoMeJodas

          The times are harsh for every camera company these days. But to me it looks like Leica has a plan and strategy on how to survive. And I personally don’t care if this strategy means converting Leica to the new Swarovski as long as they remain faithful to their heritage and continue offering their amazing products in the known quality.
          As to technology, the reason why I like Leica so much is because they are avoiding polluting their products with too much electronics. If they convert their M to yet another Sony A7/ Fuji X-Pro1, I definitely will be the first to jump out. I’m invested in the M because it has no WIFI, NFC, GPS, Touchscreen or whatever in it. I just want a manual camera with sensor in it that don’t get in my way and Leica is the closest to that. The market is already over-flooded with such mini-computers, camouflaged as cameras. So anyone in need for that will have enough products to choose from. But Leica is unique when it comes to simplicity and it will be a big mistake if they change that, because then, they will be really competing with Sony & Co.

  • David Knoble

    I see several items that contribute to this a) changes to new manufacturing facilities – this takes enormous time and resources to get done, and Leica are very detailed and thorough, b) slow release of the M(240) has decreased current revenue because the M9 and M9P are no longer available new and many still like these cameras and c) the X Vario, while having fantastic Image Quality, is bound to sell a little like the X1 and X2 and not like the flagship M models. I am not worried, 12% on the top line, or 1.9mm pounds, translates to less in terms of lost profitability and the company is still extremely profitable. Three years of this type of decline and I begin to worry more.

  • stefano

    i think these figures only concern the UK market; we should probably consider that, before people rush to comment on Leica’s demise …

    • http://leicarumors.com/ Leica Rumors

      I agree, I think Leica’s biggest/most profitable market is Asia.

    • BP

      They are only for the UK.

      The UK needs a change of direction. It needs to be run by someone who knows the product and it’s application in addition to having a fine business brain.

  • Les

    This news is for the year ending last March. In other words, that’s after the M240 had been released, but before it became generally available.
    A lot of Leica customers were waiting on the new camera at that time, which means that sales have been deferred to the current financial year (which ends next March).

    Unlike some people here, I would hold-off a little before declaring Leica “dead.” Odds are that Leica UK will see a substantial sales increase this year.

  • The_Toad

    It hasn’t helped that the M is still virtually unavailable. By the time it is readily available off the shelf, it will look more and more like last year’s model (or rather, about 3 years ago by the time you will actually be able to buy one!).

  • Ronan

    The new M is doing poorly in IQ, so no wonder the sales aren’t doing good.

    Luxury product is luxury product.

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