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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
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there