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Jessops is hooking up with Snapfish - HP's online photo processing service - to create a new photo processing website later this summer. The new online venture - Jessopsphotos.com - will offer a stack of services such pressie ideas, photo manipulation and online photo albums.

Exact details of the service have yet to be released, but the high street photographic retailer did announce today that it is angling to become "the UK's leading online photo processing site".

Details of the tie-up with Snapfish came as Jessops reported that total like-for-like sales were up even thought trading conditions were again proving tough.

For the six months to April the firm reported a "solid performance" in what it described as a "challenging retail environment". Group sales were up 10.4 per cent to £178m, with overall like-for-like sales up 2.3 per cent. Like-for-like sales for its internet and mail order division was up 52 per cent.

At the same time, profit before interest and tax was up 15.2 per cent to £6.5m compared to £5.7m during the same period last year.

The firm reported that sales of digital cameras were up, buoyed by demand for digital SLR cameras. Digital photo processing also saw strong growth, offsetting for the first time the ongoing decline in traditional film processing.

"Despite the tough retail environment, we have continued to leverage Jessops' leadership position in the digital photography market, building on the actions taken last year," Jessops chief exec Chris Langley said. But he warned that consumer confidence was "still fragile" and that the "retail climate remains hard to predict". ®

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