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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.

Does Sir Tom feel hunted?

Last July, the Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter felt confident enough in his investments to pledge £1bn to charity. A year has proved a long time in the retail and property sectors

Struggling Jessops awards chairman £500,000 cash bonus

The struggling photographic equipment retailer Jessops has paid its executive chairman, David Adams, a cash bonus of £500,000 for securing new banking facilities for the company and saving it from collapse.

House of Fraser reports 2.4 per cent sales boom

House of Fraser delivered a set of sparkling Christmas figures yesterday and helped to spread some cheer in the beleaguered retail sector.

Yorkshire 355 Middlesex 332-5: Joyce celebrates call-up with unbeaten 154 to stump Yorkshire

Ed Joyce was able to celebrate his call-up to the England one-day squad yesterday with a big hundred in the four-day match here. It was the third time he has passed 150 in his burgeoning career - one of his previous ones was scored here last year - and his third in all at the Walker Ground.

National Grid plans £12bn spend to boost gas import capacity

National Grid, the owner of Britain's gas and electricity transmission networks, unveiled plans yesterday to invest £12bn over the next five years.

Painting with pixels

Using computers in art classes can bring out a whole new creative side in children, says Amy McLellan

Retail confidence hit as Woolworths reports a bleak Christmas

The first proof that retailers struggled during the crucial Christmas period emerged yesterday when Woolworths and House of Fraser issued profits warnings.

Store cards: why punish yourself?

They charge sky-high rates of interest but British shoppers can't get enough of them. Resist the temptation, writes Melanie Bien

House of Fraser to profit from store card deal

House of Fraser, the department store chain, is set to gain a surprise profits boost this year from its Recognition store card operation.

Market Report: Gossips say Hunter to sell House of Fraser stake

House of Fraser, or more specifically its biggest shareholder Tom Hunter, was the talk of the Square Mile yesterday. Brokers reported whispers that the Scottish retail entrepreneur may be looking to sell his 11 per cent stake in the company, a holding worth about £30m.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine