Life and Style

London-based company focused on “cutting edge artificial intelligence" could supply the brains for Google's burgeoning robotics division

Spotlight On: Gift To

N Brown to launch Simply Be stores

The catalogue and online-shopping group N Brown yesterday announced plans to develop its Simply Be womenswear brand as a high-street business.

David Prosser: It's time for HMV's boss to prove he really has the X-factor

Outlook A few weeks ago, Simon Fox, the chief executive of HMV, used a speech to a conference hosted by Retail Week magazine as an opportunity to rebut the arguments of those who believe his company is not long for this world. "In five years' time, we will still have hundreds of stores on the high street," he said.

eBay pays £1.2bn for GSI Commerce

The auction website eBay is to buy the e-commerce company GSI Commerce for $1.96bn (£1.22bn) in cash in an attempt to win more business from large store chains.

Morrisons vows move on online shopping

Supermarket Morrisons today vowed to launch an online shopping operation within two years in a move to catch up with its web-savvy rivals.

Deal gives Amazon full control of Lovefilm

Online retail giant Amazon unveiled a deal giving it full control of film and games subscription business Lovefilm today.

Amazon to create 950 jobs

Online retailer Amazon is to create almost 1,000 jobs at a new flagship distribution site in Scotland.

Last-minute rush boosts Christmas sales

Retailers are enjoying another hectic day as consumers hampered by bad weather grab their last chance to buy for Christmas.

'Manic Monday' online shoppers set to spend millions

Online shoppers are set to spend a total of £537 million today in what is predicted to be the busiest internet shopping day of the year.

Shop Direct cuts losses to £21m

Shop Direct, the owner of Woolworths.co.uk and Littlewoods, said it hoped to return to profit this financial year after slashing its annual losses with a a major overhaul of the businesses. The home shopping giant has been closing call centres under plans to transform itself from a catalogue firm into an online retailer. It posted a pre-tax loss of £21m for the year to 30 April against £114m the year before. But Shop Direct failed to increase year-on-year sales despite a celebrity-led launch of its fashion site Very.co.uk and adding Woolworths as an online brand after buying it out of administration.

Amazon says price cuts bolstering Kindle eBook sales

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc has said that the recent price cut to its Kindle electronic reader has spurred sales of both the device and e-books.

Amazon landmark for digital books

Sales of digital books for e-readers have surpassed hardbacks for the first time on Amazon, marking what the online retailer called a "tipping point" for book publishing.

Amazon launches grocery deliveries



Amazon launched a challenge to supermarkets with a home delivery grocery service today.

World Cup provides boost to growth in online shopping

Online shopping has reached its highest growth in two years, boosted by the World Cup, new figures show.

Voices
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
Arts and Entertainment
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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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
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
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A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
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