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Last Updated: Monday, 9 January 2006, 16:59 GMT
Jessops enjoys 'strong' Christmas
Jessops store
Demand for digital cameras has picked up again
Camera and photographic goods retailer Jessops has reported "strong trading" over the festive period, helped by a rise in digital camera sales.

Like-for-like sales - which strip out the impact of new stores - rose 9.4% in the five weeks to 1 January, while total sales were up 13.3%.

Jessops said the growth was "driven by an uplift in digital camera sales", which increased by 23%.

The firm also saw a large jump in sales via mail order and the internet.

This is a pleasing performance and a welcome respite from the tough retail environment faced for most of 2005
Derek Hine, Jessops chief executive

The news pushed Jessops shares up more than 6% to 103.25 pence on Monday.

Confidence underpinned

For the first quarter as a whole - the 13 weeks to 1 January - like-for-like sales rose 2.3%, while total sales climbed 8.2%.

Jessops added that gross profit margins for the quarter were higher than last year, although it admitted they were "marginally" below expectations.

"This is a pleasing performance and a welcome respite from the tough retail environment faced for most of 2005," said chief executive Derek Hine.

"With nine months trading still to come, we are mindful of last year's market conditions, although this strong start to the year does underpin confidence in our prospects for the year as a whole," he added.

In November, Jessops had reported falling underlying sales as demand for digital cameras appeared to be waning. It had also said it expected no sales growth in the first quarter.




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