Full-year figures hit by difficult trading
Photographic specialist Jessops has insisted it will successfully weather tough high street conditions but warned that no like-for-like growth is expected during the first quarter.

Posting full-year results, chief executive Derek Hine claimed Christmas is not as important for Jessops as it is for many other retailers. He has been encouraged by sales of digital cameras and processing services and the performance of a new store model.

Hine said: 'Despite there being 10 months of our year ahead of us and greater uncertainties than ever on the high street, we are confident that we will enter 2006 well placed to make the best of a difficult trading environment and take advantage of any upturn.'

Jessops unveiled earnings, before exceptionals and goodwill amortisation, down 8 per cent to£18 million on sales up 2.6 per cent to£327.4 million. Total like-for-like sales fell 0.4 per cent, but slipped by 1.2 per cent in the eight weeks to November 27. Store like-for-likes over the eight weeks fell by 3.6 per cent.

The retailer floated in November last year but its subsequent performance has disappointed the City. Views were mixed on the full-year figures. Evolution described them as 'okay', while Seymour Pierce believed they were 'disappointing'.

Hine said: 'Although we have seen some recovery during the second half, particularly during the fourth quarter, like-for-like growth did not return. It has therefore been down to the actions taken within the business to drive margin improvements in the second half that have enabled us to meet our revised profit targets for the year.'