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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March, 2005, 16:48 GMT
Profit alert hits Jessops shares
Jessops store

Shares in camera retailer Jessops have fallen 30% after the company issued a profit warning following disappointing sales of digital cameras.

The company said this year's results were "likely to be significantly below its previous expectations and below last year".

Jessops has more than 270 stores in the UK and made its London stock market debut in October 2004.

Strong digital camera sales over Christmas faded in February and March.

Jessops said it had been successful in maintaining its share of the digital camera market during a general slowdown in consumer spending since Christmas, but sales had been considerably below management's expectations.

Price war

The board believes it is prudent to revise its sales growth and margin expectations for the second half
Jessops statement

Margins had also been squeezed "as retailers have sought to drive up volumes through price reductions", Jessops added.

Jessops' board said it anticipated that like-for-like sales growth in the six months to the end of March would now be about 1% higher than at the same point a year ago.

The firm said it had seen a slowdown in growth at new stores and other sales channels, such as mail order. Overall it is expecting to see total sales grow by about 4.4% in the first half of the financial year.

During the second half of the year, like-for-like growth rates were expected to improve as a result of new product launches.

"However, in this more challenging trading environment, the board believes it is prudent to revise its sales growth and margin expectations for the second half," the company said.

Jessops shares closed down 47.5 pence, or 30.7%, at 107 pence.




SEE ALSO:
Digital cameras aid Jessops sales
08 Dec 04 |  Business
Jessops sees shares dip on debut
29 Oct 04 |  Business
Jessops to float on stock market
08 Oct 04 |  Business


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