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Jessops shares plummet after warning

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Shares in high street camera shop Jessops plummeted by almost a third today after it warned that demand for digital cameras had tailed off.

Although Jessops insisted that it has maintained its market share overall it admitted that sales have been "considerably below management's expectations". The "difficult trading conditions", it said, have been made worse as rival retailers cut prices to compete for fewer shoppers.

Shares in Jessops fell 31 per cent (48.5p) to 106p by mid afternoon as investors responded to today's profit warning.

Earlier this month researchers IDC reported that while the digital camera market in Western Europe continued to grow in 2004 there were signs that the sector was maturing and beginning to slow.

In 2004, more than 25m digital cameras were shipped - a 58 per cent increase on the year before - although analysts anticipate "more moderate growth through 2005".

Said IDC researcher Paul Withington: "This first sign of market maturity was seen in 4Q04, when shipment growth slowed to 30 per cent over 4Q03, in a period that includes the Christmas rush and is the busiest quarter for the market." ®

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