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.

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".

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.

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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee