Tuesday's morning bulletin

Jobs under threat at entertainment retailer ChoicesUK; Housebuilder Persimmon posts better than expected results; Owner of music publisher Chrysalis is to review his stake in the business.

Hundreds of jobs were under threat at entertainment retailer ChoicesUK today after the group admitted it had failed to secure the future of the ailing business.

ChoicesUK, which has its HQ in Peterborough and employs around 1,800 people, said attempts to sell the firm or strike a refinancing deal had fallen through and administrators would now be called in "as soon as possible“.

The news comes as ChoicesUK has struggled amid a declining market for CDs and DVDs.

The firm, which has around 170 stores across the UK, warned in April that it would see bigger-than-expected losses, despite launching a cost-cutting drive. The stores continued to trade today.

Housebuilder Persimmon today posted better-than-expected interim profits as it said tight cost controls helped offset a "challenging“ housing market.

The York-based group reported half-year pre-tax profits of £281.1m, up 9.8% on the same period last year and better than the £276m forecast by analysts.

Persimmon, which operates the Charles Church brand, said market conditions had been tough after a spate of interest rate rises and amid the traditionally quiet summer months for the housing sector.

Planning restrictions had added to difficulties in the six months to the end of June, but the group said it was optimistic the market would see its seasonal pick-up in the autumn.

Chrysalis founder and chairman Chris Wright has hired advisers to help with a review of his 26% stake in the music publisher, it was reported today.

Longacre Partners, a specialist in the mid-market media sector, will look at various options, including the sale of the stake or a move to take the company private. Chrysalis is now focused on music publishing after the £170m disposal of its Heart radio business to Global Radio in June.

The remaining Chrysalis operation boasts an extensive library of music, including songs by Gnarls Barkley and David Bowie.  

The FTSE-100 index at 8:15am was up 12.1 at 6090.8.

The pound at 8am was US$1.9800 compared to US$1.9839 at the previous close while the euro at 8am was £0.6806 compared to £0.6790 at the previous close.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer