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.

Retail fears persist despite boom

The beleaguered retail sector was today set to continue enjoying a post-Christmas shopping boom but experts warned it may not be enough to ensure some weaker players survive.

Despite disruptions caused by Tube drivers striking over a pay dispute, large crowds of shoppers started flooding department stores in London

Shops enjoy record Boxing Day trade

Retailers and shopping malls have reported "record-breaking" levels of trade as Boxing Day bargain hunters kicked off the post-Christmas sales.

Retailers' seasonal sales boost won't last

Hopes of a seasonal lift to retailers' gloom have been raised by record-busting weekly sales figures published yesterday by the department store chain John Lewis.

The 10 Best Wine glasses

1. Bourgogne

Simon Kelner: High streets are closing; we should heed Mary Portas

Sometimes it's hard to believe we are beset by deepening economic gloom. Here in London, it's well nigh impossible to get a table in a top restaurant, and the department stores are packed to bursting.

Issy, age 11

'All I want for Christmas': Letters from Santa's postbag

From requests for Lego and leg warmers to a popcorn maker and a Puffle, letters to Santa are an art form in themselves. Clare Dwyer Hogg delves into the world of children's wishlists.

Have yourself a Merry DIY Christmas!

Whether it's because of the economy or a yearning for nostalgia, more people are making their own decorations this year

Fabulous Christmas gift ideas: Teen boy

Feast your eyes on part one of our ultimate Christmas gift guide: this week, terrific toys for boys and girls, foodie treats, addictive gadgets, literary treasures and much more…

1. Shark cycling helmet, £35, Paul Smith

Fabulous Christmas gift ideas: Toys for boys

Feast your eyes on part one of our ultimate Christmas gift guide: this week, terrific toys for boys and girls, foodie treats, addictive gadgets, literary treasures and much more…

Fabulous Christmas gift ideas: Toys for girls

Feast your eyes on part one of our ultimate Christmas gift guide: this week, terrific toys for boys and girls, foodie treats, addictive gadgets, literary treasures and much more…

John Lewis finds a few reasons to be cheerful

John Lewis gave some cause for Christmas cheer yesterday, revealing that its sales last week reached £85.2m, an increase of 11.6 per cent over the previous seven days.

1. Tiffany floor lamp: Villaverde, £2,495. This beautifully refined floor lamp is made with Murano glass. 020 7610 9797, villaverdeltd.com

The UK high street is 'alive and well', Debenhams says

Retailer has stores in 25 countries. It plans to double its franchise shops abroad over five years

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