News

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

Habitat's credit insurance risk

Credit insurers have threatened to withdraw cover to suppliers of Habitat, the home furnishing chain, if it is bought by Hilco, the retail restructuring group..

Hilco close to acquiring Habitat

Hilco, the retail restructuring firm, is leading the race to acquire the ailing furniture chain Habitat and a deal could be unveiled in days.

Merciless Ikea memoir flat-packs a punch

Former executive's explosive book rips the cosy façade off the Swedish furniture giant

Ikea: Flat pack and fabulous

Cheap, practical and loved across the globe, Ikea designs have become modern classics. As the ubiquitous Billy bookcase enters its fourth decade, Kate Watson-Smyth asks the experts to select their favourite pieces

BILLY bookcase goes bling

Turning thirty this month, IKEA’s bestseller gets a funky makeover for limited editions

Leading article: The Swedish standard

For years the Big Mac has led a double life. It's been feeding hungry people around the world, and its price has been a new gold standard of a sort, by which the real value of currencies has been judged. We have The Economist magazine to thank for this ingenuity.

Martin Hickman: Shopping – the free and easy way

A stranger turned up at my door last week expecting a free cot. I helped her load it into her car. A few days later a 28-inch Sony Trinitron widescreen TV appeared in our front room, delivered by two sweating neighbours.

Hit & Run: Twinning streak

Before they divided into separate embryos, Bob and Mike Bryan existed, briefly, as a single zygote. Thirty-one years later, the identical twins have become the greatest doubles pair of their generation. Now gunning for their 55th pro title and eighth grand slam at this week's US Open, the Americans have been described as playing as if they were still a single organism. While most pairs talk strategy between points, Bob and Mike rarely appear to communicate. "The Bryans have an unfair advantage," Daniel Nestor, one of their rivals on the doubles tour, said this week. "They have that little ESP thing going."

Midsummer, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Only in Edinburgh might you find a rom-com which has ditties about the worst hangover in the world, a mist-wreathed Ikea car-park and a night of Japanese rope bondage gone wrong. For all that, though, Midsummer, "a play with songs" written by David Greig and Gordon McIntyre from the indie band Ballboy, remains desperately romantic.

Why the 2009 ‘staycation’ will save high street home shops

Home is where the holiday is, says Annie Deakin who discovers IKEA, John Lewis and The Conran Shop’s summer campaigns

Games Review: The Sims 3

Mac, PC, EA, £39.99

The Hobbit House: A quiet revolution

Simon Dale spent just three months building his woodland home in Wales. Clare Dwyer Hogg reports

Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s Globe, London

Star-crossed and fatally miscast

Pimp my Ikea: How to bling up your 'Billy' bookcase

What happened when we let the cream of up-and-coming British design talent loose on three basic pieces from the Scandinavian home-furnishing giant?
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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
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower