Virgin is closing its five American Megastores, including one on Hollywood Boulevard, according to a story at The Wrap site, picked up by L.A. Observed. Virgin's other Megastores include its Times Square, New York flagship, plus one in downtown Manhattan's Union Square, along with Denver and Orlando.

Meanwhile, Metblog reports that Europe's largest bank, HSBC, is shutting down operations in “all 600+ former Household and Beneficial offices in the US and Canada.” While that hasn't been reported elsewhere, the L.A. Times said its shares “tumbled 19 percent” today, while noted that HSBC conceded a 70 percent drop in its 2008 earnings. HSBC has numerous branches in the Los Angeles area. Tuesday's Daily Mail of London calls HSBC's foray into the U.S. sub-prime mortgage market a humiliating disaster: “HSBC admitted yesterday that its assault on America's trailer park mortgage market has been a massive blunder.”

LA Weekly