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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent