Jessops has provisionally agreed a new ?medium term? loan facility with its bank, HSBC, in a bid to remove uncertainty when its current agreement ends in December.

The deal is subject to all necessary documentation and regulatory approvals, according to Jessops in a statement released with its interim results today.

?This new facility will put the group on a firm financial footing for the medium term and remove the uncertainty surrounding the availability of funds post December 2008,? states the firm.

Meanwhile, total sales at Jessops fell 24.7% in the six months to 30 March, to £134.8m. This reflected the closure of 81 stores last year, says the company. Like-for-like sales were down 5%.

However, Jessops managed to boost its gross profit margin by more than 3%, to 30.8%. It has also cut its stock levels and net bank debt.

Jessops pre-tax loss for the period stood at £11.2m.

Executive chairman David Adams described trading in the eight weeks to 25 May as ?very challenging in a particularly difficult market place?.

He added: ‘The remainder of the year will see further new product range launches in the UK market, which should help us to maintain gross profit levels on hardware.

‘The gross profit will be further helped by the impact of the busy summer d&p season, supported by our enhanced range of photo gifts and photo-books.’


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