Photo-Me aiming to clean up with washing machines idea

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The Independent Online

Not all of us like airing our dirty laundry in public — except Photo-Me International that is, which is planning to roll out coin-operated washing machines in car parks and shopping centres across the UK.

The company said it is looking for sites to install Philippe Starck-designed machines after a successful trial in France and Germany.

The idea is simple — people wash and dry their clothes while shopping for clothes or groceries. The only snag is convincing us Brits to change a habit of a lifetime.

"After almost three years of testing and trialling in France and Belgium, our new laundry product is ready to be aggressively rolled out," said the chairman, John Lewis. "If the results achieved to date are repeated on a much larger scale, we anticipate this product will become a significant contributor to profits within three years."

Photo-Me International said it hoped to install the machines in sites such as Westfield shopping centre, in London. The plans were unveiled alongside a 17 per cent rise in full-year profits of £20m, with revenues in its operations division, which includes photo booths, hitting £98.9m.

"A growing estate, tighter management and lower costs have all contributed to this with notable improvements in Germany, Switzerland and Japan," Mr Lewis said.