Camera retailer racks up huge losses
Crisis-hit camera retailer Jessops is to close 81 stores as it announced massive losses for the six months to April 1.

The company announced a pre-tax loss of£25.2 million, compared with a profit of£5.1 million the previous year. Total sales were fractionally up to£178.9 million, but like-for-like sales were down 2.8 per cent and the dividend was scrapped.

Trading continues to be dire, with like-for-likes down 12.9 per cent since April 1, which the company attributed to supply difficulties on key lines as a result of its financial problems. The company claimed that it had worked with suppliers and that the shortage of key products had been reduced ahead of the summer.

The store closures were announced by new chairman David Adams as part of his strategic review of the business. The review also includes an emphasis on multichannel retailing, an increased focus on digital printing through a new collect-in-store service and a reduction in central overheads by 20 per cent. 39 stores will be converted to clearance stores to offload terminal stock.

The company has agreed a£66.5 million banking facility with HSBC. The restructuring of the business will create one-off costs of£25 million for the full year.

'Our results show the extent of the tough market conditions we have faced in the past eight months and the severe price deflation affecting our markets,' said chief executive Chris Langley.