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Billionaire businessman Mike Ashley left the City baffled last night about a highly complex derivatives deal that was revealed on one of the busiest days in the retail calendar.

Harriet Walker: 'Now it's men versus women in the battle of the bulge'

Fashion is preoccupied this season with specific anatomical hugeness. With hourglass shapes at Prada and Louis Vuitton, not to mention Christina Hendricks' busty ubiquity, we are told that boobs are back. They never went away, I hear the blokes cry – maybe not in your realm, but I imagine we read quite different magazines.

Debenhams upbeat on sales despite price fears

Debenhams downplayed retail sector concerns that the spike in cotton prices will translate into inflation in clothing prices and a dip in sales yesterday. Flooding in Pakistan and China has sent global cotton prices soaring to a 15-year high in recent weeks, as retailers already face higher transport costs, wage inflation in China and rising VAT in the UK.

Soaring cotton prices put pressure on inflation

Soaring cotton prices threaten to put further pressure on inflation amid a chorus of warnings over the likely impact on price tags.

Hall of fame: Wigmore Hall begins its 110th anniversary season

Michael Church celebrates it glittering history

Bargain Hunter: Very's low prices

Very has up to 60 per cent off clothing, jewellery and footwear on its website, as part of the much-hyped "End of Summer" sale. Top-selling items in the sale so far include a Henleys utility bag – down from £20 to £14 – a pair of Goodsouls slouchy beanie hats – down from £12 to £8 – and a Pineapple beach towel, reduced from £10 to just £6. Visit http://ind.pn/cK5oxH for the full range.

M&B chairman vows end to shares chaos

Sale of Hollywood Bowl expected tomorrow as part of John Lovering's plan to 'normalise' pub chain

Debenhams to strike property deal to generate fresh capital

Debenhams, the department store, has held discussions about unlocking the value in its property portfolio, as it seeks to generate significant funds to further pay down debt and invest in the business.

Debenhams signs refinancing deal

Debenhams has completed the refinancing of its debts ahead of schedule by signing a £650m credit facility.

Market Report: Bargain-hunters drive market as GKN rises 6 per cent

The stock market mounted a comeback last night, with the vehicle and aircraft parts-maker GKN rallying as bargain-hunters moved in to make the most of recent losses.

John Kinnaird plots return to retail with new shoe chain

The serial retail entrepreneur John Kinnaird is trying to launch a new footwear chain just two months after his previous venture, the shoe retailer Faith, collapsed.

Debenhams targets Libya and Morocco

Debenhams is considering opening shops in Libya and Morocco, as the department store seeks out new countries to drive its international sales growth.

Editor-At-Large: My blueprint for a better, cheaper, health service

What kind of National Health Service do you want? We're the rarely-consulted consumers, the front-line fodder for the NHS – but this cash-eating monolith (which gobbles up a sixth of all public spending) appears to operate to please its bureaucrats rather than the patients. The Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will not cut key services, but hasn't decided how much will be allocated to achieve that goal. For starters, £250m will be saved by cutting NHS management, but his ultimate goal is to cut wasteful admin by a third and save up to £20bn. How to do this without compromising health care?

Can we live without the magic airbrush?

Debenhams has taken the brave step of launching a marketing campaign using photographs that aren't digitally enhanced

Bargian Hunter: Last minute Father's Day deals; Tatler offer

Sniff out a Debenhams deal

The Thursday Essay: Royal Ascot is a real class act

Ladies' Day at Royal Ascot means hats, tailcoats and demure hemlines. It's all for fun – but decode the dress, and social divisions are laid bare, writes Liz Hoggard
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?