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.

Poundstretcher buys Alworths

Poundstretcher has stepped in to salvage Alworths, dubbed the "son of Woolworths", which tumbled into administration in March.

Kate and Wills effect produces cucumber spike

Hard-pressed Britain celebrates The Wedding with a £500m splurge on all things patriotic

Sales of shorts soar – but do we wear them well?

The recent spell of hot weather has sent British men to the shops in record numbers, report James Buckley and Lauren Allain

Business Diary: Where have all the men gone?

Our congratulations to the 16 personal assistants named yesterday on the shortlist for the Hays PA of the Year Award.

Retailers report struggling profits

The fragile state of the UK economic recovery was underlined today after Halfords and Carpetright served a double dose of retail woe.

The 50 Best kitchen appliances

Kate Watson-Smyth cooks up a culinary shopping list for gadget-loving foodies

Market Report: Victrex benefits from takeover spotlight

The prospect of Victrex becoming a bid target was highlighted yesterday as positive broker comments helped the high-tech plastics company to surge up the mid-tier index.

John Lewis raises £50m in bonds

John Lewis Partnership, the group behind the eponymous department store and grocer Waitrose, has reached its target of raising £50m through a bond issue more than three weeks ahead of its final deadline.

Debenhams posts resilient half-year profits figures

Debenhams moved closer to reinstating its dividend yesterday after it posted a resilient set of half-year sales and profits, despite the dire weather before Christmas and lower footfall on the high street since early January.

John Lewis plans online deliveries in 27 countries

John Lewis is looking to extend its online home-delivery service to 27 countries, including the US and Australia, by August, the group behind the department-store chain said yesterday as it delivered a 20 per cent jump in pre-tax profits.

John Lewis profits fund 18% staff bonuses

Thousands of John Lewis partners were today celebrating a bonus windfall worth nearly two months' pay as the company defied a gloomy spell for retailers.

David Prosser: The bankers are fighting back everywhere you look

It is becoming clearer by the day that Bob Diamond meant exactly what he said when he told MPs thetime for remorse from bankers was over

John Lewis tipped to post £350m profit and increase staff bonus

Market waits for updates on retailer's expansion plans and on Morrisons chief's new strategy

John Lewis staff set for bonus windfall

Employees at the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) are expected to toast an annual bonus payment of at least 15 per cent of salary when the retail group unveils its full-year results on Wednesday.

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
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James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Extras
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peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
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The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
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The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick