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Mike Ashley once boasted he had “balls of steel”. Frankly, for anyone else to spend £45 million on shares in Debenhams after its Christmas drubbing, you’d need them.

Boom on the high street 'will last until 1998'

Britain is set to enjoy a retail boom that will last until at least 1998, a new report predicts. Retail sales growth will peter out after that, though a wholesale downturn is unlikely, writes Nigel Cope.

Coleman gets the House in order; The Investment Column

One of the luxuries of taking on a basket case is being able to slag off your predecessors with impunity. John Coleman, new chief executive of House of Fraser, took the opportunity with alacrity yesterday and painted a bleak picture of unparalleled retailing incompetence. It was little wonder the shares closed 4.5p lower at 158p, 24p below the price at which the business was floated almost three years ago.

House of Fraser plans to spend pounds 50m on overhaul

John Coleman, new chief executive of House of Fraser, launched a searing attack on his predecessors at the department store chain yesterday.

death by chocolate

Much as it pains me to say this - as my wardrobe is full of it - it really seems as if top-to-toe black is on the way out after a decade. Even I have to admit it is starting to look rather hard, dated and far too Eighties (although an Eighties revival is not far away, I can feel it). Brown has been heralded as its successor; last year it was camel, but the reason brown will be more successful is that it's much easier to wear - more forgiving and more versatile. The other colour for this season is blonde, which is best mixed in with brown for a really classy and expensive look. The problem most will have is what shoes and hosiery to wear and the answer to that is dark brown shoes (they should always be a darker shade than your clothes) with brown lacy/textured or skin tone (not too pale or too dark) sheer tights.

Rentokil's non-execs are in a different league; City Diary

Rentokil's chief executive Clive Thompson is rightly proud of his "Mr Twenty Per Cent" nickname, earned by his company's success in boosting earnings per share and pre-tax profit by 20 per cent a year over the last 14 years.

Six of the best safari looks

1 Safari suit, Karen Millen, pounds 240. The classic, multi pocketed, safari suit has been updated by the highstreet chain Karen Millen this time in a heavier fabric. The dark khaki military style suit comprises of a long narrow pencil skirt (pounds 80) and belted single breasted jacket (pounds 160). Available from Karen Millen branches nationwide call: 01622 664 032.

Trio of bosses ousted in Liberty shake-out

NIC CICUTTI

House of Fraser appoints director trio

House of Fraser, the troubled department store group yesterday completed its management reshuffle with the appointment of three new directors. The shake-up includes the departure of Tony Hancock, the operations director, who is leaving to pursue "private interests".

Letter: No chance for Fayeds to clear their name

Sir: Your comment of 11 June upon the unconfirmed reports that this company might be floated on the stock market made much of the 1990 Department of Trade and Industry report on the takeover of the of House of Fraser in 1985 and the critical comments made by the two inspectors.

House of Fraser

House of Fraser's three executive directors each enjoyed significant pay increases last year though the department store group's profits halved to pounds 14m and the share price continued to under-perform. Andrew Jennings, the former managing director who was ousted earlier this year, saw his pay increase from pounds 267,000 to pounds 302,600 last year. His pay included benefits of pounds 48,437 for the use of a company car, mobile phone and accommodation in central London for his wife and family. Mr Jennings' severance pay was not disclosed in the company's annual report.

Heavy demands at Harvey Nicks

The Investment Column

House of Fraser to unload weak stores

House of Fraser is to sell several of its underperforming department stores in a restructure that could see the disposal of DH Evans, the well known Oxford Street store in London.

City thumbs-down for new House of Fraser boss

House of Fraser, the beleaguered department store group that ousted its managing director last month, moved quickly to fill the void yesterday when it named former Texas Homecare chief John Coleman as its new chief executive.

House of Fraser chief is forced to quit

NIGEL COPE
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