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Up to 40 per cent have not made key checks on their credit rating or electoral roll entry

The Week Ahead: M&S will give clues to mood on the high street

Marks & Spencer is set to dominate the headlines tomorrow, as investors scrutinise the retailer's full-year results for signs of stability on the beleaguered British high street.

Retailers call for action to prevent 'ghost towns'

Retailers have urged the Government to provide them with more assistance to keep shops occupied, as Whitehall unveils a £3m initiative today to try to prevent high streets from becoming ghost towns during the recession.

The Week Ahead: Marston's set to serve up some market cheer

Marston's, the FTSE 250-listed pubs group, is expected to meet market expectations with its second-quarter trading update this Wednesday, standing out as a relatively safe bet in a sector that has been groaning under mountains of debt and the pressures posed by the recession.

Consumer Rights: A helping hand foiled by 'data protection'

Why a utility firm blocked an effort to assist a sick relative ... The curse of being 'blacklisted' for credit ... The pursuit of compensation for a cancelled flight

Cameron: I'll strip corrupt lords of peerages

Exclusive: Tory leader says he would show no mercy over 'cash-for-amendments' allegations

Market Report: British Land sunk by Goldman warning

The prospect of dilutive disposals sent British Land sliding to 431p, down 3.15 per cent or 14p, last night. Goldman Sachs warned that, given the rapid deterioration in the domestic economic picture, the company's high level of gearing meant that it may have to embark on a large disposals programme – possibly close to the largest by value in its peer group – to return to its long-term average leverage ratio.

Market Update: FTSE 100 down 54.7 points

The FTSE 100 eased to 4154.31, down 54.7 points, while the FTSE 250 lost 30.92 points to 6225.3 at around noon.

DJ Taylor: Once a rocker

The week's news about Prog rock, Morris dancing and Tolkien will help those haunted by their youthful entusiasms tell their Marillion from their Silmarillion

Jeremy Warner: Downturn will sort the retailing wheat from the chaff

Outlook And they are off. The start of the Christmas trading update season has brought relatively good news from the high street, or at least news that was not nearly as bad as some had been forecasting. Debenhams was down "just" 3.3 per cent in the 12 weeks to 3 January while the fashion chain New Look was actually up 2.8 per cent in a similar time frame. Even Next, which resisted the trend to discount sales in the run-up to Christmas, was down by "only" 7 per cent on a like-for-like basis, which in these markets counts as almost respectable, though this was over a longer time frame and may therefore disguise double-digit falls in November and December.

More shoppers out looking for bargains

Shoppers fought off the cold weather and economic gloom this weekend to hit the high street in greater numbers than last year, according to figures published today.

'More than 400 retailers' to collapse within months

Retail insolvencies are expected to soar over the next four months and hit the entire economy, as it emerged that retail footfall tumbled in December – despite a late surge in shoppers chasing bargains during the last week.

Five million shoppers head out for Boxing Day sales

A record five million people, or one in 12 of the population, went shopping on Boxing Day – an increase of 12.5 per cent on last year. However, retailers fear that after a few days of frenzied activity at the sales, shoppers will rein in their spending to pay off credit card bills.

Shoppers flock to post-Christmas sales

Shoppers were expected to make the most of record discounts in stores today, with retailers looking to make up for dismal trading in the run-up to Christmas as the country headed towards a recession.

David Prosser: Retail's future is bright: on the web, at least

Outlook: Marks & Spencer announced yesterday that its post-Christmas sale would actually start on Christmas Day itself, online at least
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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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