Debenhams shares collapsed today following the removal of the retailer's chairman and chief executive by Mike Ashley a day earlier.

The retail tycoon, who owns just under 30 per cent of the department store chain through Sports Direct, teamed up with fellow shareholder Milestone Resources, to eject Sir Ian Cheshire and Sergio Bucher from the board.

Following the Debenhams annual meeting on Thursday, Mr Cheshire stepped down as chairman immediately. But Mr Bucher will stay on as chief executive, although not as a director.

READ MORE: Ashley forces Debenhams boss of board

Lidl sales were up eight per cent over the Christmas period as it enticed customers away from the UK's biggest supermarkets with its premium ranges.

The discounter saw a 33% uplift in sales of its premium Deluxe range over the six weeks to December 30, with bestsellers including brioche burger buns and luxury mince pies.

It also tempted shoppers to transfer £58 million worth of spending from Waitrose, M&S and the "big four" - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.

Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group have swooped on regional airline Flybe in a £2.2 million deal which will see the creation of a new airline group.

The companies, in conjunction with Cyrus Capital Partners, have agreed an offer of just 1p per share for Flybe, which put itself up for sale in November.

The price represents a significant markdown on Flybe's Thursday closing price of 16.38p. Shares in the airline plummeted following the news, closing down 77.1% to 3.75p.

Under the plans, the airline will be combined with Stobart Air in a joint venture called Connect Airways.