Nikon has confirmed that it will increase production of digital SLRs and lenses in Thailand, in a £7.5m move which comes as UK figures show DSLR demand continues to grow.

The expansion would raise Nikon?s DSLR production from 290,000 per month to 300,000, for the year ending 31 March 2008, according to reports first published by Reuters and the Bangkok Post.

Production of interchangeable lenses is also set to rise to 300,000 per month, from the 290,000 monthly output for the year to March 2007.

Confirming the move Jeremy Gilbert, group marketing manager at Nikon UK, said: ‘The expansion is to help fulfil the increased consumer demand for digital SLRs and lenses.’

He added: ‘Nikon is the second largest manufacturer within this sector of the market and the expansion is in line with our 40% share aspirations.’

The Thailand factory, which is based at the Rojana Industrial estate in the province of Ayutthaya, has recently decided to take on 5,000 more staff.

In the UK, figures confirm a 38% increase in sales volume and 15% growth in sales value for May 2007, compared to the same month the year before.

The statistics were released by GfK Marketing Services whose senior account manager Steve Reid said: ?Strong digital SLR sales underpin the consumer desire for greater sophistication in their camera use and the stronger photographic results they are aiming for.?

Reid added: ?The nature of model sales here display a consumer step up from digital compact to a first foray into DSLR photography, which is a positive thing for the industry.?

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