Photographic retailer Jessops has reported a u00a319.1m loss for the year to 30 September 2008, with like-for-like sales down 6.5%. The total loss after tax was u00a350.2m, compared to u00a363.5m the year before.rnrn

Photographic retailer Jessops has reported a £19.1m loss (before non-recurring items and tax) for the year to 30 September 2008, with like-for-like sales down 6.5%.

The firm’s loss in 2007 was £9.3m.

The total loss after tax was £50.2m, compared to £63.5m the year before.

Gross profit margin increased to 32%, from 30.8% the year before, states the firm’s preliminary full-year results released this morning.

Like-for-like sales dropped 4.1% in the 17 weeks to 25 January 2009.

Though like-for-like sales for the eight weeks to 25 January 2009 rose 3.8%, this was achieved at the expense of profit.

The firm’s gross margin fell 4.2% for the 13 weeks to 28 December 2008.

Jessops said it is ‘highly likely’ that it will need to ‘fundamentally restructure’ its debt to put the business on a ‘more stable footing’ for the future. Its net debt stands at £57.4m.

Chairman David Adams said: ‘In a difficult and uncertain retail environment we focussed on improving margins and on strengthening our relationships with key suppliers.

‘We significantly reduced stock levels during the period with further reductions since the year end. We were pleased to renew our banking agreement.

‘It is not clear when economic conditions will improve but the combination of our strong market position, solid relationships with suppliers and continuing cost reductions should ensure that Jessops is in the best position operationally to deal with the very difficult economic conditions in which we are operating.’

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