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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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before