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John Lewis And House Of Fraser, Increased Sales In Festive Period

John Lewis And House Of Fraser, Increased Sales In Festive Period

House of Fraser has reported its best Christmas while John Lewis also credited stronger online business for an increase in festive sales.

The two department store chains’ fortunes were in stark contrast to those of rival Debenhams, which has issued a profits warning and confirmed it had lost its chief financial officer in the wake of poor sales.

House of Fraser, which trades from 61 stores in Britain and Ireland, said like-for-like sales excluding VAT for the three weeks to December 28 rose 7.3%, with online sales up 57.7%.

Like-for-like sales excluding VAT for the first nine weeks of its fourth quarter were up 4.3%, the firm said, adding it expected to finish the year with lower net debt, which stood at £157.2m for the year to January 26 2013. read more

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Debenhams CFO Quits After Profits Warning

Debenhams CFO Quits After Profits Warning

The chief financial officer at Debenhams has quit the retailer, just 48 hours after it issued a post-Christmas profits warning.

Simon Herrick had already been under pressure, according to media reports, after he asked suppliers for a discount on goods just eight days before Christmas in what was seen as a ‘Santa tax’.

The department store chain denied at the time of his letter to suppliers that it was an attempt to boost fragile festive trading.

In the letter he wrote: “As we will mutually benefit from the growth of Debenhams we are now seeking a contribution from our suppliers to support our commitment to on-going investment.” read more

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Online Music Streaming Doubles In UK In 2013

Online Music Streaming Doubles In UK In 2013

Online music streaming in the UK has doubled in the last year, according to new figures.

But that has come at the expense of album sales, which have seen an overall dip during 2013 due to the decline in CD sales as people turn to digital listening.

Research by music trade body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the Official Charts Company shows 7.4 billion tracks were played on paid-for or ad-funded streaming services in the last year – twice the 3.7 billion figure of 2012.

Around £103m was brought in over the past 12 months by subscription services – up £26m on the previous year. read more

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‘Multi-Sensory’ Fireworks For London On New Year

‘Multi-Sensory’ Fireworks For London On New Year

Londoners have been treated to the world’s first “multi-sensory” fireworks display as people around the world welcomed in the New Year.

More than 250,000 people lined the Thames for the display, which saw peach snow and orange-scented bubbles descend on a section of the crowd.

In Scotland, about 80,000 were in Edinburgh city centre for the famous Hogmanay street party.

Fireworks explode over Edinburgh Castle

Fireworks explode over Edinburgh Castle read more

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Jobless youngsters ‘have nothing to live for’

Jobless youngsters ‘have nothing to live for’

More than 750,000 young people in the UK may feel they have nothing to live for, according to a survey by the Prince’s Trust.

The study found that long-term unemployed youngsters are facing “devastating” symptoms of mental illness and often self-harm – and almost a third have contemplated suicide.

Jobless 16 to 25-year-olds are also twice as likely as their peers to have been prescribed anti-depressants, with 40% of those who were out of work saying they faced symptoms of mental illness.

Out of more than 2,000 people who took part in the charity’s survey, those unemployed for more than a year were more likely to say they had no one to confide in. read more

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Fire Service Teams Trained For Water Rescue

Fire Service Teams Trained For Water Rescue

The number of emergency rescue teams in England and Wales equipped to tackle flooding has more than quadrupled.

Some £2.5m has been spent funding teams, mostly within the Fire Service, until 2017.

The Fire Service is now being described as a “rescue service that occasionally goes to a fire”.

Roy Harold, the chief fire officer association’s capability lead for flood rescue, says the number of water rescue teams have risen from 40 to 180 and include paramedics, the RNLI, the RSPCA, and the AA. read more

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Driver Miraculously Escapes As Car Rips Apart

Driver Miraculously Escapes As Car Rips Apart

Rescue teams have described the survival of a driver whose car was ripped in half in a crash as an “incredible escape”.

The car hit a motorway sign splitting it in half and sending the front and back ends in different directions.

No one was trapped in the vehicle following the Christmas Eve accident near junction 9A of the M11 in Essex and firefighters said all that was needed was first aid at the scene.

Incident commander Nigel Webb, from Saffron Walden fire station, said: “The vehicle had left the road and collided with a large motorway sign.” read more

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Smacking Children Should Be Banned

Smacking Children Should Be Banned

Parents should be banned from smacking their children, according to the Children’s Commissioner for England.

Maggie Atkinson said it was her personal view that the law gives pets and adults more rights to be protected from violence than children.

Dr Atkinson said she favours a total ban on smacking, which would see parents face criminal action for corporal punishment.

Current rules make it illegal for a parent to smack a child if it leaves a bruise, but permit a lighter smack or “reasonable chastisement”. read more

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Woman Dies In Christmas Day House Fire

Woman Dies In Christmas Day House Fire

An elderly woman has been found dead after a house fire in the east end of Glasgow on Christmas Day evening, police said.

Mary McConnell, 83, was pronounced dead at the scene after police were called to the property in Hermiston Road in the Springboig area.

Police Scotland and the fire service have launched an inquiry into the cause of the blaze, but it is not thought to be suspicious.

No one else was injured in the fire. read more

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Man Dies In London Night Club In the West End

Man Dies In London Night Club In the West End

A man has died after a shooting inside a nightclub in London’s West End, according to Scotland Yard.

Police have arrested one man on suspicion of murder and are currently holding him at a police station in south London.

The shooting occurred around 3am this morning at a private function inside the Avalon club in Shaftesbury Avenue.

The injured man, believed to be aged 31, was rushed to hospital with multiple gunshot wounds but later died from his injuries, according to police. read more

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