Updates from HMV, G4S and Sainsbury's

The FTSE 100 saw a -0.27% knock-back yesterday, finishing at 5,929 points. Tullow Oil, up +2.88%, was the biggest riser while John Wood Group saw the largest decline, down -4.55%.

Overnight in Asia some Chinese shares exploded in value with the Shanghai Composite Index soaring more than +3% after the release of optimistic manufacturing data.
We commence with deeply worrying news about HMV: the 91-year-old operator has seen its share slump dramatically after it admitted that unless sales improved, it could breach its existing bank covenants with RBS and Lloyds. Shares have crashed from just over 4p to just 2.49p (a huge distance from £1.36p in early 2009).

HMV has almost 240 stores across the UK. But recent like-for-like sales slipped more than -10% in the 26 weeks up to 27 October. HMV's underlying net debt has climbed to more than £176 million compared to £163.7 million.

"Investors," said sales trader at IG, Will Hedden, quoted by thisismoney, "have come to the aid of many retailers throughout the downturn, but I wonder how long they can keep propping up a company that continues to struggle against the inevitable trend towards online retail."

Next, G4S. Still smarting from the Olympics debacle, G4S says it has snapped up Deposita, a South African provider of retail cash solutions technology. G4S will own 87% of the shares in Deposita and pay a total consideration of R114 million (£8.2m), post debt restructuring.

There are opportunities, claims G4S, to export the technology into other African countries, including Botswana, Malawi, Kenya and Namibia.

"We believe," says Andy Baker of G4S Africa, "their market leadership in cash device technology, extensive client base and unmatched track record of delivery in this highly specialist area will underpin our service offering here in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa."

Finally, it's likely Sainsbury's will allow customers to continue shopping on Sunday 23 December - one of the busiest shopping days of the year - up to an hour after official trading in certain stores to help the grocer cope with demand.

Although retailers have to close their doors after six hours of Sunday trading, it's possible for customers to continue shopping if they've entered the store before the official cut-off time.

Last month Sainsbury's saw a 2.5% rise in half-year pre-tax profits to £405m. Its market share also expanded to 16.7%, the best result in nearly 10 years.

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