Confidence is improving across most UK businesses, according to the latest business surveys, although manufacturers are less optimistic. Business lobby group the CBI said the economy was moving from "flat to growth", although it kept its forecast for growth this year at 1%.
The number of empty shops on the country's high streets has continued to rise in the first quarter of the year.
House prices rose by 5.5% in the first quarter of the year, amid a warning the rise will slow because of stamp duty.
Barker & Stonehouse is to open its first London store, a 25,000sqft unit in Battersea, in July.
Interiors and clothing chain Next has revealed the extent of sales volatility of the past three months, with sales fluctuating by about £25m a week.