City&FinanceBriefing 30 Tuesday, 30 June 2009 London Lite Inbrief Jackson strikes the right note to cheer HMVHMV sold more than 40,000 Michael Jackson albums in the three days after his death -- far more than were sold by the group after Elvis or Lennon died. Friday sales were up 80-fold, said chief executive Simon Fox. His Number Ones greatest hits shot up from 121 in the charts to top place. Across the industry, we reckon something like 125,000 Jackson albums were sold. But it was the death of High-Street rivals Woolworth and Zaavi that helped HMV to forecast-busting profits last year. The companys sales now account for one in every three albums sold in the UK. Fox is now two years into his three-year turnaround plan, and analysts today said he was producing results faster than his original targets. Pre-tax profits rose 11.5% to 63 million in the year to 25 April on sales up 4.4% at 1.96 billion. Fox has pushed sales of games, consoles and MP3 players up from 14% to 24% of total revenues. At Waterstones, 2.8 million cus- tomers have signed up for the booksellers loyalty card rather than his initial target of 1.5 million. An HMV loyalty card has been launched in the last two months. BY NICK GOODWAY Carpetright is floored by plummeting profits CARPET king Lord Harris of Peckham today unveiled a slump in annual profits, and said he doubted there would be an economic recovery this year. His Carpetright business saw returns plunge 72% to 16.7 million for the year to May. But he can claim to have weathered the storm better than most. With rivals struggling to stay in business, Carpetright looks likely to grab market share. It has been a difficult time. But we have kept costs under control. I expected my 51st year of selling carpets to be extremely challenging, he said. The chairman and chief executive controls 29.9% of the shares. He tried to put together a takeover deal 18 months ago, but it fell at the last hurdle when support from the banks dissolved. Sales dropped 7% to 482 million and debts rose from 57 million to 97million. Carpetright has 695 stores, of which 128 are in Europe. The dividend for the year is 8p, down from 52p last time. Said Harris: Our principal markets are in recession and the likelihood is that with unemployment set to rise, the housing market will remain weak. We do not expect a return to more normal trading conditions for at least 12 months. Carpetright shares have recovered from a year low of 342p in the last few weeks. However, today they fell 23p to 575p. Cheers for Capitals boozers THE CAPITAL Pub Companys 25 unbranded London boozers are showing that decent locals still have a future. Sales at the pubs -- which include the Anglesea Arms in South Kensington and The Marquis of Granby on Shaftesbury Avenue -- rose 5% to 20 million in the year to March. Profit is up 7% to 2.1 million. However, things are not so cheery in the industry at large, with six pubs in the UK closing every day. At that rate, the last one will call time in 2038. Australia Dollars 1.9475 Canada Dollars 1.8128 Denmark Kroner 8.3182 Eurozone Euro 1.1206 Hong Kong Dollars 12.0900 Japan Yen 149.5100 New Zealand Dollars 2.3801 South Africa Rand 12.1800 Sweden Kronor 12.3400 Switzerland Francs 1.7062 UAE Dirham 5.6651 United States Dollars 1.5701 TourisT raTes DOWN 8.91 at 4285.12 fTse 100 dow Jones nikkei -$ UP 90.99 at 8529.44 UP 174.97 at 9958.44 UP 0.5p at $1.66 >>for all the latest City share prices, call 0905 817 1694* or visit thisismoney.co.uk * Calls cost 75p/min from a BT landline & last approx 1 min per quote. not all stocks are available arriva slowed by CrossCountry l ArrivA shares took a battering today after the inter-city rail operator admitted growth has come to a juddering halt, weighed down by subsidiary CrossCountry where half-yearly sales growth was 2.4% against 4.5% for the first quarter and 11.2% last year. Shares dropped 10.7p to 412.25p. Otherwise, results are in line with chief executive David Martins expectations. Massive: Michael Jackson is a sales sensation even in death Yell sounds new alert over debt l ShAreS in debt-ridden Yellow Pages owner Yell Group tumbled almost 10% today after it again moved to shore up its creaking finances and warned of a collapse in profits. The firm plans to comprehensively refinance the business as it buckles under 4.2 billion of debt in the wake of disastrous acquisitions. it said first- quarter profits will be down 20%. wolseleysacks itsuschiefexec lBeLeAGUereD plumbing supplies group Wolseley has dumped its chief executive, the American Chip hornsby. he will be replaced by ian Meakins, an experienced FTSe 100 director who left holiday money group Travelex last month. Before Travelex, Meakins -- who will be getting 775,000 a year from Wolseley -- was chief executive of drugs wholesaler Alliance UniChem. diesels a good deal as oil soars l The oil price shot to an eight-month high today, but diesel fuel is fast becoming good value. A glut of the fuel in europe has brought its price in the UK down to near-parity with unleaded petrol. The difference at the pumps is now only averaging 1.57p a litre. A year ago a litre of diesel was more than 13p dearer.