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?

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Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
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The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
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Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

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Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
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Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum