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.


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


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.
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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
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life