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Marks & Spencer has joined retailers trying to lure shoppers on to the high street before Christmas with plans for a flash sale across its stores tomorrow.

Hopes of white knight for Argos fade

INVESTORS' hopes that Argos might find a "white knight" in its defence against the pounds 1.6bn hostile bid from Great Universal Stores received a setback yesterday when it emerged that one of its directors had bought pounds 10,000 of shares in the company.

Argos investors unhappy about generous terms for departing chief

INSTITUTIONAL investors in Argos are unhappy about the "overly generous" extra payments being made to Bob Stewart, the company's finance director, who is stepping down later this year. They are also unimpressed by the timing of the announcement which was made on Thursday in the small print of the defence document.

Fresh setback for Argos as chief departs

ARGOS' defence against the pounds 1.6bn hostile bid from Great Universal Stores (GUS) suffered a big setback yesterday when it emerged that Bob Stewart, its finance director, would take early retirement by the end of the year. The surprise news comes just weeks after Argos announced that Mike Smith, its chief executive, was unable to fulfil his duties due to ill-health. The company also lost its director of toy buying last week.

Argos chief vows to fend off pounds 1.6bn GUS hostile bid

The new acting chief executive of Argos came out fighting yesterday, promising to mount a strong defence against the pounds 1.6bn hostile bid from Great Universal Stores, whose offer document is expected on Monday.

Investors back Argos's pounds 540,000 man

Institutional investors in Argos, the besieged retailer, yesterday applauded the appointment of Stuart Rose as acting chief executive and said his pounds 540,000 pay package was "miraculously low".

Outlook: A rosy future even if he fails ...

Poor Stuart Rose. He's been out of a job since July, having been passed over for both top jobs in the now demerged Burton Group. For a while, it looked as if he might shoe horn his way into the vacant chief executive's shoes at WH Smith, but that strategy failed too. Everyone deserves a break, however, and thanks to Mike Smith's illness, he now finds himself parachuted in to man the defences at Argos.

Burton reveals chief at Debenhams made pounds 2m profit on shares

The chief executive of the Debenhams department stores, which are set to be demerged from the Burton Group next month, received pounds 2.63m last year including salary and profits from share options. However, as Nigel Cope, City Correspondent, reports, the sale was due to personal reasons and does not reflect his view of Debenhams' prospects as a separately quoted company.

WH Smith looks to US for a new chief executive

Institutional investors in WH Smith expressed renewed concern about the company yesterday as it emerged that the beleaguered retailer had ruled out all the external candidates for the chief executive post and decided to widen the search.

Split over WH Smith top job

Two of retailer's big institutional shareholders object to leading candidate for post of chief executive

WH Smith `drift' worries investors

Several institutional shareholders in W H Smith are becoming impatient over the company's failure to appoint a chief executive to replace Bill Cockburn, whose shock decision to quit after just 18 months in the post was announced six weeks ago. They are worried about a period of ``drift'' at the company, which is facing serious problems in its core business and are keen for an appointment to be made as soon as possible.

Burton denies chief is to leave

Burton Group, the Debenhams and Dorothy Perkins retailer, yesterday dismissed City speculation that John Hoerner, chief executive, was to step down as "completely unfounded".

Hoerner tipped to quit Burton

There was speculation in the City last night that John Hoerner may step down today as chief executive of Burton, the retail group. City dealers were suggesting that Stuart Rose, chief executive of Burton Menswear, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Principles, might take over at the helm of the retailer, which slumped out of the FTSE 100 on Wednesday.

Obituary: Richard Stevens

Richard Stevens, Royal Designer in Industry, was concerned with the function of everyday things, and for 14 years was head of all industrial design for Post Office Telecommunications (which later became British Telecom). He recognised, as indeed had the Royal Commission that preceded the 1851 Great Exhibition, that what was lacking in British manufactured goods was not technique but art.

Body Shop changes strategy on public relations

BODY SHOP, the high street retailer run by Anita Roddick, has appointed a public relations company to promote its products.

Body Shop look-alike to open in UK

BRITAIN's most successful green business is facing a new threat, writes David Nicholson- Lord. The Body Shop, still recovering from claims that its high-profile environmental stance is a sham, will this week see its dominance of the 'natural' cosmetics market challenged by one of the biggest names in American retailing.
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