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    Single-Use Camera Sales Growing

    Convenience retailers losing out to drugstores on film, processing sales.

    Digital cameras may be increasing month to month, but you wouldn't know it from the lines for film processing at U.S. drugstores. A growing appetite for single-use film cameras, appealing because they are cheap and easy-to-use, is fueling increasing demand for photo processing services.

    "Photo finishing is just one area that's just booming in our company," Daniel Jorndt, chairman and chief executive officer of U.S. number-one drugstore chain Walgreen Co., said in an interview with Reuters.

    Consumers are not spending a lot of money on traditional film cameras because "there is a digital revolution going on,? but throw-away cameras are driving profits in the photofinishing business. The majority of these sales come from the drug store channel because they have the shelf space and open area to supply the cameras and offer processing services, Jorndt said.

    According to market research firm NPD Intelect sales of one-time use film cameras in the United States rose 16.9 percent to $391.4 million in 2000 from 1999. In the same period, sales of traditional cameras fell by 9 percent to $1.6 billion, while sales of digital cameras jumped 84.7 percent to $1.8 billion.

    Demand for disposable cameras and the follow-up processing are increasing because of consumers' yearning for greater convenience and from being priced low enough to withstand any impact from the slowing U.S. economy, the report said.

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