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Jessops hit as digital camera sales bomb

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The sale of digital cameras bombed in February according to the latest industry figures. While sales of digital cameras grew by 36 per cent in November they only managed a measly increase of 0.1 per cent in February.

The sudden drop in demand has been highlighted by high street camera shop Jessops, which reported today that trading in February and early March saw "an unprecedented decline in digital camera sales and the toughest trading conditions...since digital cameras were launched onto the market in the mid 1990s".

It explains that the industry-wide plummet in sales gives "some context to the sudden decline in the [company's] sales in the second quarter".

Digital cameras are a major part of Jessops' business accounting for 45 per cent of the company's total sales over the last six months. While total sales were up 4.2 per cent to £161m in the six months to the end of March, profit fell 18 per cent to £5.7m.

Despite the apparent collapse in digital camera sales, Jessops remains upbeat. With just a third of UK households owning a digital camera (compared to eight in ten that own a standard camera) it reckons there's still plenty of scope for future sales.

"We expected to see a gradual recovery in sales from the very disappointing and significantly negative store like for like sales experienced in February," said the retailer.

In March, shares in Jessops plummeted by almost a third after it warned that demand for digital cameras had tailed off.

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

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