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Laundry business boosts Photo-Me

Letter: Wordy basis

Sir: I do not know what happened to "before" (letter 18 September), but it seems to have fallen victim to a general belief that the more words, the better. Above the payphone in my local Homebase store a notice reads: "This payphone is emptied on a daily basis." The words "on", "a" and "basis" are redundant, but this flabby construction has now become all but ubiquitous (listen to any news broadcast).

Words: coffin, n.

ANOTHER NEWSPAPER'S corrections column has alerted readers that they might have been misled by a report that "the left-arm spinner ricked his back lifting his coffin out of the car". This was not some prescient bargain, a new line from Homebase, but recent slang among Australian and English cricketers for a cricket-bag taken on tour - not yet in any dictionary, nor in G. A. Wilkes's boggling Australian Colloquialisms.

The Knack: How to Make a Room Look Bigger

CONTRAST IS the key. Use horizontal bands of different colours - keep them quite broad, having about five up a wall. It plays with your sense of perspective and really does make it feel as if the space has got much bigger. The more contrast there is between the stripes the more efficient the effect; white and black are the best because that really does trick your eye, but of course it's up to people whether they can live with that.

Homebase pulls plug on kitchens

SAINSBURY'S Homebase is pulling out of the kitchens business in a move that will lead to the loss of 550 jobs.

Words: statement, v.

SAINSBURY'S WILL add to its trading difficulties by the Ratner- like suggestion that frequent purchasing of DIY apparatus at its Homebase sheds is a sign of mental deficiency. The pounds 2 voucher for buying such things came with a form which noted the "spend previously statemented this personal year".

Shopping: Bags of cool for summer

Forget the Tupperware boxes and plastic beakers. Wouldn't you rather picnic in style? By Rhiannon Batten

Shopping: Forget Ken - real men love barbies

It's time to stick a few beers in the fridge and get the firelighters out; but have you got the right barbecue? By Shaun Phillips

Fast forward: Garden gadgets - Lawn and order

Back yard demanding attention? Martin Skegg and Michael Oliveira- Salac offer some cutting-edge accessories

Shopping With... Blowing it all away

Fashion and beauty PR Michael Donovan proclaims himself to be a disciplined shopper - at the start of every season he blows his entire clothes budget in one shopping trip. This suits him because he hates the "machinations of clothes shopping". After 11 years in public relations Donovan knows to avoid the trends that won't last and how to buy "reasonably timeless clothes."

Comic Relief `stole noses'

FRIVOLITY WAS tinged with fury yesterday after the organisers of Comic Relief's Red Nose Day were accused of stealing the design for their hooting plastic noses.

A home away from home

Swapping your house with someone else's is a cheap and comfortable way to see the world. Felicity Cannell reports

Sainsbury's warning adds to retail gloom

FURTHER EVIDENCE of flagging consumer confidence emerged yesterday as Sainsbury's, the supermarket giant, warned of difficult trading conditions while a brace of other companies reported disappointing results.

Investment: Sainsbury's reveals a sudden loss of appetite

SO MUCH for food retailers as defensive stocks. Yesterday's grim trading update from Sainsbury's challenged the received wisdom that people will carry on spending in supermarkets when times are rough.

Size does matter in DIY sector

Analysis: Almost 100 B&Q Warehouses are to be opened. The market is stirred. Will it be shaken?

Kingfisher to create 20,000 jobs

KINGFISHER, the retailing group, yesterday pledged to invest pounds 750m and create 20,000 new jobs at B&Q, its DIY subsidiary in an expansion of Warehouse, the giant shed format.
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