VIRGIN France has filed for bankruptcy, the latest music chain to fail against a backdrop of consumers shifting to buying music online. The firm — not affiliated with Richard Branson's Virgin Group — has 26 stores in France, including a flagship outlet on the Champs Elysees in Paris. It employs 1000 people and is owned by French investment firm Butler Capital. The Paris Commercial Court will decide if the firm should pursue a recovery plan or be put into liquidation. Virgin's main French rival, the Fnac chain, has also been facing difficulties. In the UK, music, films and games retailer HMV has warned that it faces an uncertain future in the face of continuing falling sales.
US oil production will jump by a quarter by 2014 to its highest level in 26 years, figures suggest. This is mainly because of the discovery of vast reserves of shale oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) in the US also forecast average global oil prices would fall from $US112 ($F199) a barrel in 2012 to $US99 ($F175) in 2014. It said US oil imports would fall by a quarter between 2012 and 2014, because of rising domestic production and the discovery of shale gas.