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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.

Rise in profits for Debenhams

The department store is expected to post improved figures, amid speculation of a Finnish purchase

Insurer snubs House of Fraser

Britain's biggest credit insurer is refusing to cover suppliers to House of Fraser amid concerns about the company's performance.

Lady Gaga 'outerwear' helps to boost Asos sales by 30 per cent

Lady Gaga proved the unlikely inspiration for a sales boost of almost a third at online fashion group Asos, the latest retailer to post strong results over Christmas.

Best Christmas week ever for House of Fraser

Department store chain House of Fraser revealed record seasonal trading today as it offered more signs that retailers enjoyed a robust Christmas.

House of Fraser shines

House of Fraser has become the latest large retailer to post storming festive-trading results, driven by a strong performance from its new stores and branded offer.

Credit crisis diary: Lord Carter calls in the heavies

Ever sensitive to the accusation that ministers brief the press before Parliament, government officials applied a strict lock-in at yesterday's briefing for journalists on Digital Britain, with hacks banned from leaving the room until Ben Bradshaw had finished his House of Commons statement. One Evening Standard writer brave enough to make a break for it was escorted back into the room by security guards.

Exclusive: Most of Baugur’s head office staff to be made redundant today

Nearly all of the London head office staff at the beleaguered retail investor Baugur will be made redundant today.

For sale: the British High Street

Icelandic group with major holdings in more than 20 chains faces meltdown

200-year history no comfort for Viyella

Viyella, one of the oldest names in the British clothing industry, has joined the victims of the recession. Its womenswear section went into administration, though other parts of the business are still trading.

Middle-East funds go for Debenhams' Oxford St store after £150m deal fails

Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are poised to swoop on the flagship Debenhams store in Oxford Street, following the collapse of a £150m deal with a Ukrainian investor.

Green edges closer to Baugur takeover

Retail billionaire Sir Philip Green edged closer to a deal to buy the debts of Icelandic investor Baugur, a once- powerful predator that acquired a string of famous brands.

House of Fraser tries to reassure suppliers over Icelandic links

Baugur's connections to Iceland's troubled banking sector have raised fears that it may sell some of its UK high street assets

Woolworths and Iceland to meet for new bid talks

Iceland's chief executive, Malcolm Walker, is expected to meet Woolworths chairman, Richard North, this week to discuss a new takeover bid for the pick-'n'-mix retailer.

New House of Fraser management boosts sales and profits

House of Fraser has delivered a healthy uplift in sales and profits, as the changes made by its new management team bear fruit despite tough trading conditions on the high street.

Baugur: the iceman cometh...

First Oasis, then Karen Millen and Hamleys. Baugur, the Icelandic retail investment group, has already bought a string of familiar names from the British high street, but a successful tilt for Woolworths would result in its biggest acquisition here yet.
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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
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Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

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Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones