Photographic retailer Jessops has unveiled steps to expand its reach into Scotland and Northern Ireland as it snapped up a chain of 20 stores.

The company - which has four stores in Birmingham - said it had paid £815,000 for MacKinnons of Dyce, which runs the Photo Factory brand north of the border, as well as an outlet in Bangor, Northern Ireland.

It means Leicester based Jessops, which last month reported a 6.5 per cent lift in annual sales, will double its presence in Scotland and take its number of outlets in Northern Ireland up to eight.

The deal includes MacKinnons' store in Nairn, near Inverness, which trades under the name CS Boyne.

Chief executive Chris Langley said: "This is in line with our store opening strategy and adds 20 stores in one move, taking our total to over 300 stores for the first time.

"More importantly it considerably strengthens our presence in Scotland and builds on our position in Northern Ireland."

All of the Photo Factory employees will be transferred to the new Jessops stores.

Photo Factory was established in 1982 by Murray MacKinnon as MacKinnons - a pharmacy situated eight miles north west of Aberdeen in Dyce.

The pharmacy contained a photographic department which sold a variety of new and used photographic equipment and processed films.

Mr MacKinnon spotted an opportunity in the photographic market and set up a one hour photo lab in 1983 - the first in Scotland.

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