Booker needs extra pounds 25m to close sites

Shares in Booker fell sharply yesterday after the food distribution company warned it would take a further pounds 25m charge to close some food distribution sites following last November's pounds 264m purchase of warehouse retailer Nurdin & Peacock.

Majestic start for wine chain

The Investment Column

Street engulfed by blaze at warehouse

Eighteen families were left homeless after a fire at a warehouse engulfed their houses. Eight people were taken to hospital and more than 100 residents of Lightfoot Road, Chester, were evacuated as the blaze destroyed a Pickfords storage depot on the neighbouring Hoole Bridge industrial estate.

Mulcahy talks tough with B&Q boss

Sir Geoff Mulcahy, chief executive of Kingfisher, yesterday backed the management of the group's B&Q DIY subsidiary despite a 33 per cent slump in the division's profits.

Storehouse in pounds 62m stores deal

Storehouse, the Mothercare and BhS retailer, made its first acquisition since the era of Sir Terence Conran yesterday, paying Boots pounds 62.5m for Childrens World, its loss-making out-of-town store chain.

Boots expected to dispose of Childrens World

Boots shares rose 12p to 619p yesterday on expectations that the group is set to sell its Childrens World business, which has not made a profit since it started in 1987.

Mothercare lifts Storehouse

A strong performance from the Mothercare chain of children's shops has boosted profits at Storehouse, the BhS retail group. Mothercare profits jumped 120 per cent to pounds 9.3m in the six months to October, helped by better stock control and fewer discounts. Profits at BhS also improved, though sales were affected by the heatwave. Group profits were up 42 per cent to pounds 34.5m.

buy me: warehouse zebra dress

This autumn, the op-art clothing made famous by Courreges in the Sixties has been resurrected. The look swept through the designer collections, from Anna Sui to Versace, and fashion stories from the glossy magazines have dedicated pages to the virtues of the monochrome palette.

Letter: Terence Conran: I left by design

From Sir Terence Conran

Carpetright bucks the sales trend

NIGEL COPE

Unluckiness of four-leafed clover

From Mr Graham Green

Pleasant surprise in Storehouse

Shareholders in Storehouse must be wondering what happened to the ramshackle old company they used to know and curse.

The past is not a foreign country

"It is plain that the truth I am seeking lies not in the cup but in myself." When Marcel Proust wrote these words in A la recherche du temps perdu, he opened up a past which turned into one of the greatest works of 20th-century literature, and though Short Stories: "Memories in Store" (8pm C4), with its study of three people's pasts in storage, can't claim quite such high status, it nevertheless presents us with a similarly candid insight into that most eccentric of human traits - never being able to throw anything away.

Warning hits Nurdin shares

Shares in Nurdin & Peacock, the cash-and-carry group, fell 10p to 138p yesterday after the company issued a profits warning. The City was already expecting lower profits following costs associated with the reformating of some its stores.
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