News Sales on Oxford Street in the run-up to Christmas reveal retailers' worries

Shop prices fell at their fastest rate on record in December, in a sign of intense competition on the high street over the crucial Christmas trading period.

John Lewis sees bumper sales

Bargain hunters have boosted John Lewis department store sales by more than 26 per cent during the first three full days of the retailer's post-Christmas clearance event.

Shoppers snap up purchases before VAT rise hits

Shoppers are snapping up large flatscreen TVs and other big ticket items as they make the most of the New Year sales before next week’s rise in VAT.

Mega Monday: bargain-hunters join half-mile queue at 2.30am

Dedicated shoppers had formed a half-mile-long queue outside Next in Milton Keynes by 2.30am – two and a half hours before the store's doors opened.

Shoppers flock to high street sales

Hundreds of thousands of shoppers pounded the high streets today to snap up post-Christmas bargains in a boost for retailers before VAT goes up in the New Year.

Late rush and web sales boost John Lewis

A surge in online shopping on Christmas Day helped John Lewis post a stunning 31 per cent rise in total sales last week, as "pent up demand" created by the earlier snowfall unleashed an eleventh-hour deluge of customers into its department stores.

Last-minute buyers gear up for busiest shopping day of the year

After days in which their shop fronts have been bound with snow, retailers are hoping for a shower of last-minute present-buyers on what is expected to be the busiest shopping day of the year.

Noël's house party: A home that has never seen tinsel is given a last-minute festive makeover

Getting your home ready for Christmas is about the little touches – those are the things that will help to make guests feel welcome," says Sarah Dare, from the seasonal-events department at Peter Jones, part of the John Lewis chain. "And it doesn't have to take much time." Well, that's good, because it's Christmas week – and my home looks like Scrooge's grotto.

The ten best Christmas adverts

Who says Christmas is becoming far too commercial? We say Christmas is all about the commercials. Which is why we've decided to bring you our pick of the ten best Christmas adverts - ever.



How to turn your spare room into a stylish space for overnight visitors

The majority of spare rooms lie unused most of the time. No wonder they become a dumping ground for all the things you've never quite found a place for and, possibly, your laundry and ironing board too. But before you groan at the thought of having to clear it all out for the rellies coming to stay this Christmas, why not use the opportunity to transform it into a room that's both stylish and dual-purpose? "Whatever you double the room up as, use neutral wall colours to keep the feel both calming and functional," interior designer Nina Campbell advises. "And ditch curtains in favour of Roman blinds, which have the potential to look both practical and luxurious."

Carry on kit: 15/12/2010

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Christmas gifts: You shouldn't have...

Gift-buying is a minefield – and austerity makes matters worse. So why do we still insist on getting into debt for often unwanted presents? We should learn our limits, says Harriet Walker

Cheap and chic: A guide to the Christmas sales

The Christmas sales are close at hand, but don't brave the crowds without doing your homework first. Harriet Walker reports

Snow slows John Lewis sales rises

High street bellwether John Lewis saw sales of £104m last week, up by 1.2 per cent year on year and by 3.7 per cent compared with the previous week, despite "atrocious weather conditions".

Why glam rocks this Christmas

Forget discreet decorations, it's all about tinsel and sparkles. Best of all, it's easy to bring maximalism into our homes – without breaking the bank, says Kate Watson-Smyth

Will Christmas prove a final spree for shoppers?

With VAT going up in January and spending cuts expected to bite next year, are Britons likely to hang up their shopping bags in the new year? James Thompson reports
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