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April 10, 2015

Most followed: Condor Gold, Debenhams, HSS Hire Group, Majestic Wine, Poundland

There are no blockbuster stories from the oil sector this morning so we will have to look elsewhere for the hot stories.

The UK high street is a good place to start, with Majestic Wines (LON:MJW), the wine seller, solving a number of issues in one fell swoop with the acquisition of Naked Wines International.

First, it beefs up the company's online presence; second, it makes Majestic an international operator; and third, it solves the problem of who to appoint as successor to Steve Lewis, who stepped down as chief executive in mid-February after 29 years.

Rowan Gormley, founder and chief executive of Naked Wines, is taking over as chief executive at Majestic.

The proposed takeover of 99p Stores by Poundland has run into a spot of bother The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which thinks the merger might lead to a lessening of competition.

This story actually broke yesterday, but no one seems to have pointed out that Poundland (LON:PLND) is somewhat constrained in its ability to exploit any reduction in competition by pushing up prices.

Pound-and-thruppence-land does not have the same ring to it.

Does recruitment firm hays still have branches on the high street? I think it does, probably above the local Greggs or down an alley at the side of Starbucks.

This morning's trading update got the cold shoulder from investors, as the firm’s UK growth is beginning to slow and currency fluctuations start to bite.

Debenhams' (LON:DEB) shares have nudged higher on the appointment of retail veteran Terry Duddy as a non-executive director. Duddy was formerly chief executive of Home Retail Group.

HSS Hire Group (LON:HSS) is probably more of an edge-of-town operator than a denizen of the high street, but be that as it may, investors have been clicking on this morning's regulatory news story to find out the identity of the party that has a major stake in the company.

Sadly for those hoping for another bid story, it is just good old Standard Life, the staid and reassuringly boring pensions company.

Shares in Condor Gold (LON:CNR) have advanced 5.7% after the company said Mark Child, its executive chairman and chief executive, will be presenting at the European Gold Forum in Zurich, Switzerland, on Wednesday 15th April at 4.20pm.

He must be one hell of a speaker for the news to have generated the sort of response. @MasterMetals MasterMetals Blog

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