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Sales fall to hit Jessops profits


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From the BBC

Shares in photographic retailer Jessops have sunk 13% after the firm said profits were set to miss expectations following poor Christmas trading.

Like-for-like sales, which exclude new store openings, in the 6 weeks to 5 January were 6.9% lower on a year ago.

Jessops said the market for digital compact cameras remained soft and its problems were compounded by supply shortages of popular SLR models.

The firm said it was now taking a "more cautious view" of 2007.

Supply focus

Jessops said that while demand for digital SLR cameras remained strong over Christmas, it was unable to meet all of the demand as a result of "major worldwide supply shortages" on the most popular models from Canon and Nikon.

"This compounded the like-for-like sales decline in the period and has impacted profits," the company said.

It added it was working closely with manufacturers in an attempt to resolve the supply problems.

"The impact of these ongoing SLR supply problems and the continuing softness of the digital compact camera market has led the board to take a more cautious view of the year as a whole," Jessops said.

"Accordingly, the board now expects that the out-turn for the full year will be broadly in line with last year."

Jessops reported profits of £17m last year and analysts had been hoping they would rise to between £18m and £19m this year.

In morning trade, Jessops' share price was down 19.25 pence, or 12.9%, at 129.75p.

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Interesting about the SLR shortage. Although we're not a big camera retailer we were frustrated with out-of-stocks on our most popular cheaper-end digital compacts and could have sold lots more if we'd had enough. Even now the spaces are still empty as we're waiting for the back orders to be filled.

Jessops would be wise to arrest the falling print price that they've been perpetuating. My guess in the digital print category they've put lots of effort into achieving very low average sales value. Perhaps it's time for them to forget listening to Fuji and work out their own costings on what it takes to make each print.

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