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.

David Prosser: Mayfield counts the cost of a promise John Lewis made 80 years ago

Outlook Were Charlie Mayfield, the chairman of John Lewis, to be in charge of a stock market-listed company that had just posted a near-20 per cent decline in profits, he would be in for some sleepless nights. Shareholders do not take that sort of performance terribly well.

John Lewis boss defends 'investment for growth'

The partnership that owns John Lewis and Waitrose suffered a near 20 per cent drop in profits, but put the falls down to "investment in future growth plans" and the commitment to never being undersold.

Colour clash your home

Designer Laura Olivia on her riotous hues

What's in a name? The clue is in the wedding list

The Joneses go for glassware while the Thompsons are happiest unpacking gadgets for the kitchen, according to one gift list compiler

John Lewis to branch out with range of smaller stores

John Lewis is to increase its presence by opening at least 10 smaller department stores, kicking off with a shop in Exeter next year.

Cases against 109 Fortnum activists dropped

Prosecutors have dropped more than 100 cases against activists who staged a sit-in at Fortnum & Mason four months ago in protest over the department store's alleged tax evasion.

Deborah Ross: First find your exam-facing teenager...

If you ask me...

Furniture designers honoured at Guildhall awards

Sebastian Conran and Olga Polizzi award designers of mass-produced furniture, says Annie Deakin

Hopes of retail spending recovery are dashed

The faint hope of retailers for a lasting recovery in consumer spending after the boost from April's balmy weather and bank holidays was dashed yesterday, after the cold reality of falling sales returned in May.

Mary-Ann Sieghart: You can't be all things to all shoppers

At a time when we are resiling from bling, and conspicuous consumption, they offer sturdy value, unflashy goods

Countdown to Stratford City's grand opening

There are now 100 days to go before the opening of Westfield Stratford City, the £1.45bn retail and leisure development that will complement the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Business Diary: New money not welcome here?

Money can buy you many things, but not the welcoming embrace of polite New York society it would seem. Lisa Falcone, wife of the hedge fund mogul Philip Falcone, is less than impressed with the treatment her husband receives in the City.

John Lewis boss says chain is too 'beige'

Shoppers love its prices and service but John Lewis can be a bit boring, according to one of its most senior managers. Craig Inglis, the first director of marketing at Britain's biggest chain of department stores, said it could be accused of being "beige".

Changing of the guard at M&S

Marks & Spencer has said that two long-standing board members are stepping down, as it unveiled two new hires to its trading team.

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