Miliband to brand VAT rise 'wrong tax at wrong time'

With high streets braced for a last-minute shopping rush today before the rate of VAT goes up, Ed Miliband will warn that the increase will cost the average family £7.50 a week.

Last-minute buyers gear up for busiest shopping day of the year

After days in which their shop fronts have been bound with snow, retailers are hoping for a shower of last-minute present-buyers on what is expected to be the busiest shopping day of the year.

Uniserve imports export firm to create £255m distributor

A distribution supplier to well-known high-street chains, including Marks & Spencer, Monsoon and Debenhams, has created a business with a joint turnover of around £255m by buying a 50 per cent stake in a Birmingham-based export business.

The Bargain Hunter: Nine days left at Amazon

Amazon.co.uk has launched a "12 days of Christmas" sale, with savings of up to 65 per cent on books, toys, aftershave, watches and jewellery.

M&B in new phase of pub sell-off plan

Chairman John Lovering looks to offload 53 'franchise' properties by the new year

Carl Leaver is new Gala boss

Gala Coral has hired a former director at Marks & Spencer to lead the gambling group, and the chief executive of Debenhams to become its new chairman.

Blacks defends CVAs as suitors line up for group

The chief executive of Blacks Leisure has launched a vigorous defence of the insolvency procedure that saved the outdoor retail specialist from collapse last year, as a smaller 27-store rival retailer Go Outdoors emerged as a bidder for the company.

Last Night's TV: The Apprentice/BBC1; Buried Alive: Chilean Miners/Channel 4

The science museum," mused Jamie in The Apprentice, trying to work out what the location of their briefing might tell them about the task ahead. "It's either going to be something to do with science... or museums." He'll go a long way with a mind like that – though in the event it was neither, the venue having been chosen because it was crammed with inventions "which have made millions for those brave enough to back them". (Does the Science Museum contain an Amstrad E-m@iler? And if not, isn't it time this significant gap in their holdings was put right by some anonymous donor?) This week, both teams were being given the opportunity to play at Dragons' Den, auditioning eager inventors and selecting two products to try and sell on to retailers. They passed on the laser-light wrinkle reducer (which looked like a wearable microwave oven) and the electronic slouch preventer (it nags at you every time you slump, like a miniaturised mother) in favour of – among other things – a T-shirt with built in six-pack and a baby-grow that changed colour if the child wearing it got too hot.

Profits triple at Go Outdoors

Go Outdoors, the camping and clothing specialist, more than tripled its profits and nearly doubled its sales last year.

The Bargain Hunter: The big Blue Cross sale

This week saw the launch of yet another Blue Cross sale at Debenhams, with up to 70 per cent off products across the store. Some of the best savings are to be found in the homewares department, with items such as the Bergen bonded leather recliner, reduced from £500 to £224, an Amelia bathroom towel set, down from £32 to £9.60, and the Clusterdown orthopaedic contoured pillow, reduced from £36 to £10.80, proving the top-selling items so far. Head over to http://ind.pn/bWzC4I for a full list of discounts.

Debenhams brings back dividend

The department store Debenhams has revealed it will reintroduce its dividend after a two-year hiatus, as it posted a sharp uplift in full-year profits.

Retail sales 'weaker than expected'

Retail sales volumes were weaker than expected in September, official figures showed today, as anxiety ahead of the Government's deficit-busting cuts deepened.

Kurt Geiger profits rise as it feeds shoe 'addiction'

Premium footwear retailer Kurt Geiger, which currently sells 10 pairs of shoes every minute, lifted underlying profits by a fifth in 2009, and expects to do even better this year.

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Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

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videoWatch Lynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance
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The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
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High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg
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Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

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The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
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Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London