News

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.

Fashion: Spend, spend, spend and sparkle

This is a time of year when you want to stand out, so as long as your outfit shines in every sense, you'll see the century out in style.

Hamilton downfall `caused by his bid to help Fayed' says QC

THE "TRAGEDY" of Neil Hamilton was that his downfall stemmed from trying to help the Harrods boss, Mohamed Al Fayed, the former Tory MP's QC said yesterday.

The Investment Column: Allders

ALLDERS, THE department store group, is not the most exciting of retailers but it has had an action-packed few months. Merger talks with House of Fraser collapsed in October as the City forced HoF's share price into the abyss.

The Investment Column: House of Fraser

LIFE IS tough out there on the high street and House of Fraser provided further evidence of the gloom yesterday. Half-year figures at the department store retailer were not a pretty sight. Operating losses increased from pounds 2.8m to pounds 4m and underlying sales fell 2.4 per cent. Current trading is even worse - same store sales are down 5 per cent.

House of Fraser's growing appetite for purchases puts Allders into play

HOUSE OF FRASER, the chain whose stores include Army & Navy, Barkers and Howells of Cardiff, yesterday increased speculation that it is poised to launch a pounds 140m bid for rival Allders by confirming it is holding a review of its business that could lead to acquisitions.

Facelift removes DH Evans

THE NAME DH Evans is to disappear from Oxford Street in London after 144 years of trading, as part of a pounds 12m revamp of the faded store.

The 50 Best; SUMMERTIME, AND THE DRESSING IS EASY

Summer-holiday dressing is one of those things women both love and hate. It should be fun forgetting about grim office uniforms and buying clothes simply for larking about in; but then there's the grief inherent in choosing clothes that - horror! - show off all your bumpy bits. So our expert stylist Lizzy Shepherd has done the legwork for you, choosing the best key summer gear: itty-bitty sundresses, sassy swimwear, vital separates - and plenty of finishing touches. Stay cool... Photographs by John Knock

Comment: Right of Reply - Mohamed Al Fayed

The owner of Harrods responds to a leading article on his application for British citizenship

Cooler shakers; tried & tested

A cocktail shaker should be one part functional, three parts decadent, and capable of transforming even the most unlikely combination of liquids into an exotic concoction. Happily twirling their miniature umbrellas at the prospect of being shaken and stirred were Mathew Iredale, Charlotte Hastings, Lucio Venanzi, Will Iredale, Kezia Comisky and Viv Gilchrist. Barman Richard Preston did the professional road test, and ensured that the Vodka Collins and Manhattans were drinkable. They all hoped to avoid leaks, drips and losing their grip - and, more importantly, their cool

House of Fraser warns of price war

JOHN COLEMAN, the chief executive of House of Fraser, yesterday warned that the recent troubles at Marks & Spencer could damage other department store chains.

Clothing sales battle is set to intensify

BRITAIN'S clothing market is on the verge of a major shakeup as competition in the high street intensifies, a new survey claims today.

Market Report: Bid rumours boost House of Fraser shares

STOCK MARKET professionals, who should have waxed rich on the flow of mega-mergers which have sent shares soaring, concentrated on a more mundane deal, worth a mere pounds 230m or so.

Retail shares dive on Christmas trading reports

SHARES IN the retail sector took a pounding yesterday after a series of gloomy Christmas trading statements underscored the tough conditions on the high street.

This week's diary

TODAY

Shopping: Shoptalk

IF YOU feel you need to get back in shape in the New Year, give yourself a beauty break without breaking into sweat with a professional aromatherapy facial. Decleor is offering Independent readers a facial at its in-store beauty rooms for pounds 15 during January, instead of the usual price of pounds 35. As well as receiving a set of miniature specialist samples for your skin type, the cost of the facial will be redeemable against the purchase of any two or more of Decleor's natural products.
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable