Struggling camera specialist Jessops has reported flat like-for-likes sales for the 7 weeks to January 6.

The retailer’s like-for-likes inched up by 0.3 per cent, but total sales plummeted by 20.6 per cent – primarily because of the closure programme affecting 81 stores.

Jessops said sales of digital single lens reflex cameras were particularly strong as a result of new product launches and improved product availability.

The 233-store chain’s total sales tumbled 24.4 per cent, with like-for-likes down 4.7 per cent for the 14 weeks from October 1.

Jessops said that its product margin rate for the 14 weeks is ahead of last year by 0.2 per cent.

Jessops executive chairman David Adams said: “We were prepared for a tough Christmas trading environment and managed the business accordingly. Strong working capital management aligned with a robust sales performance has resulted in an improved stock profile.”

Jessops has borrowing facilities of more than£60 million with HSBC, on which it pays hefty interest rates. The retailer plans to refinance itself early in the new year, ahead of the expiry of its existing banking arrangements at the end of this year.