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 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.

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

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?

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 1 May 2015
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power