R.I.P. Ritz Camera


Ritz camera is throwing in the towel and looking to either sell or liquidate all its remaining stores. It's been a bad month for the photography business, first Kodachrome goes away and now Ritz.

Founded in 1918, the single camera shop grew to roughly 800 stores following the acquisition of rival Wolf Camera in the early part of this decade. But Ritz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February and half those stores were shuttered in an attempt to restructure. On Wednesday, Ritz called it quits and announced that if it can't find a buyer, it will auction off assets by the end of this month.

It's difficult to defend a business model that can't succeed on its own merits, but I was really rooting for Ritz. Full disclosure: I write a Better Business Column for the Photo Marketing Association, outlining trends in the photo industry and how retailers can better compete. The ranks of small retailers in this industry is being thinned at a pretty rapid rate, thanks to digital imaging.