Shares in Woolworths fell 0.36p to close on 9p yesterday after the high street retailer was fined £350,000 by the Financial Services Authority for failing to tell the market about changes to a Tesco contract quickly enough.

Woolworths’ subsidiary Entertainment UK renegotiated a supply contract with Tesco in December 2005 that would wipe £8m off its full-year profit, but did not tell the City of the changes until a trading update in January 2006.

“Clean, efficient and orderly markets depend on timely and proper disclosure of relevant information,” said Margaret Cole, director of enforcement at the FSA. “Woolworths’ failure to disclose vital information led to a false market in its shares for 29 days.”

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