Jessops imageJessops’ flagship store in New Oxford Street, London

Jessops has closed four shops as the boss of Britain?s largest photographic chain rolls out plans to focus on more profitable stores in ?higher profile locations?.

Jessops chief executive Trevor Moore confirmed to Amateur Photographer (AP) that the shutters have come down on stores in Kendall, Kettering, Weymouth and Perth, Scotland, as their leases came up for renewal.

Moore said the Kendall, Kettering and Weymouth shops will be replaced by ?new format stores? over the coming weeks, but refused to reveal their locations for commercial reasons.

He told us that these outlets had failed to meet criteria for inclusion in Jessops? ?estate plan?.

However, the outlet in Perth – which shut up shop earlier this month with the loss of five jobs – will not reopen elsewhere.

?The lease on the Perth store had expired and we were unable to secure alternative satisfactory premises to trade from in the vicinity,? said Moore. ?We were hoping to avoid closure right up until the last minute.

?The team were offered alternative roles but these were deemed unsuitable due to the travelling distances involved.?

Moore added: ?We have a number of new stores opening in major towns in the coming weeks.?

He said these shops will serve more customers and deliver ?higher sales and profitability?.

The first of these outlets is a shop based in Milton Keynes, which opened yesterday.

?This is a brand new store and will run in addition to our very successful out of town business,? said Moore.

He said Jessops will ?broadly retain’ the same number of stores at the year end as it had at the start of 2010.

In a video interview with Amateur Photographer earlier this year, the CEO insisted that the business has ‘no closure programme’.

In April, the Jessops outlined plans to refurbish one store each week for the rest of the year.

The revamped shops are designed to be more appealing to customers, with clearer signage and a more open plan feel – with staff not necessarily behind counters but helping customers on the shop floor.

The chain also launched a bid to capture younger customers and grab back market share in lower-end compact cameras from supermarkets and rival stores such as Argos.

Despite its aim to win over compact camera buyers, Moore promised that Jessops would maintain its focus on DSLRs, the mainstay of the photography enthusiast.