News

Retailers enjoyed a "spectacular" Christmas, official data showed, with total sales growing at their fastest rate in years.

Record profits at Ikea after a year of global growth

Swedish retail giant Ikea has delivered record annual profits, driven by cash-strapped consumers seeking out its flat-pack furniture globally.

<p>{1} Brink and Campman Orchid Rug</p>
<p>This hand-tufted rug will bring a splash of colour to any living room. A contemporary twist on florals, this acrylic rug has been carved to highlight its fantastic mix of colours and looks wonderful set against a neutral decor.</p>
<p>From £100, heals.co.uk</p>

The 10 best rugs

Need to feel warm in this freezing weather or want a splash of colour in your home? Then invest in a bright or cosy floor covering

Why monkeys will never beat humans in a dance off

While, primates of all species can apparently enjoy fizzy pop (see above), it turns out that picking up on the beat in music is a uniquely human trait.

The small monkey was found wandering around in Ikea

Monkey in sheepskin coat photographed roaming Toronto Ikea store

A monkey, wearing a Del Boy-style sheepskin coat, has been photographed outside an Ikea store in Canada.

Ikea used forced prison labour to make furniture

Ikea, the Swedish furniture giant whose flat-pack offerings grace homes from Bolton to Bangkok, has admitted that East German political prisoners had been used to make its goods for as long as three decades.

The Business Matrix:Monday 5 November 2012

HSBC ups home lending by a fifth

Glass act: Nice old mismatched glass jars make for unusual receptacles

The Insider: Displaying old family photographs

Digital may dominate these days, but most of us have dog-eared collections of old-school family photos. For years I had mine patched together in a giant picture frame; it looked awful, as well as not doing the individual images justice. I binned the frame, but now what?

The Business Matrix: Saturday 3 November 2012

Ikea's six-year high in the UK

eBay joins list of firms avoiding most tax - and doing it legally

The auction website eBay has become the latest major company to be accused of tax avoidance after an investigation found it had paid just £1.2m in corporation tax, despite British sales totalling nearly £800m.

Ikea keeps price of popular Billy Bookcase the cheapest in Euro zone

Ikea's Billy bookshelves will remain cheapest to buy in the euro zone next year as the region's debt crisis weakens its currency and hurts consumer spending.

The art of light: This light offers an interesting interplay of light and shade when lit, but is also a pleasingly sculptural object when not in use. £45 johnlewis.com

Rays of hope

There's no point looking back – the incandescent bulb is dead. Trish Lorenz tracks down the LED lights to get the mood just right this autumn

Errors and Omissions: Medea may be a sorceress and a murderer, but she's no femme fatale

Our legendary pedant on the dead metaphors yet to be airbrushed from history, what it is that makes a femme fatale, and the proper form of cricketing cliché.

Shelf life: A computer-generated shot of the new Strand East development

Rise of the Ikea city

The Swedish store has opened the first part of its huge east London mini-city. But don't expect too many Billy bookcases, says Chris Beanland

The News Matrix: Thursday 4 October 2012

Riots as police round up money changers

Why exactly did Ikea remove pictures of women in its Saudi Arabia catalogue?

Commercial considerations led Ikea to omit women from its Saudi catalogue. But why does Saudi Arabia feel the need to "retouch" women from public life in the first place?

Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
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Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
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(David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
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Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
footballBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
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Chris Evans is the favourite to replace Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor