The closure of 81 Jessops stores caused total sales to fall by 24.6% in the 25 weeks to 22 March, the high street chain announced today.

The closure of 81 Jessops stores caused total sales to fall by 24.6% in the 25 weeks to 22 March, the high street chain announced today.

Like-for-like sales fell 5.1% while product margin was slightly up on last year, partly as a result of reduced stock levels.

In a trading statement the firm added: ?Following the restructuring programme last year the board has taken further actions to reduce the cost base and improve the efficiency of the business.?

?These will result in additional savings at head office, improved efficiency in store staffing levels and reductions in our supply chain costs.?

Last summer Jessops announced plans to close 81 shops and cut 550 jobs following its strategic review.

Executive chairman David Adams said: ?Our trading performance reflects the difficult and uncertain environment we operate in and we continue to take actions to reduce the cost base of the business. ?These actions plus the restructuring activity undertaken in the second half of last year – which caused significant disruption to trading through store closure and stock clearance – should benefit the business as we move into the second half of this year. Our stock levels are significantly down on last year?s level. This has been achieved without affecting product availability.?

Jessops will announce its interim results for the six months to 30 March 2008 in May.

In January the firm said it has a long way to go before it returns to ‘sustainable profitability’.

NEWS UPDATE: Jessops to cut 200 more jobs

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