First-time buyers have been 'driving the mortgage market forward' in the past year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). The number of loans made to first-time buyers was up by 23% in 2013 compared with 2012 but, on average, these borrowers still needed to find a 20% deposit.
Furniture, flooring and home accessories led the way in consumer spending last month, according to research.
How and when companies go into administration could be significantly changed depending on the outcome of a court case this week.
The level of empty shops has fallen below 14% for the first time since July 2010, but regional performance continues to show a north-south divide.
Home delivered another strong performance last week for John Lewis, with furniture and carpets and its At Home stores starring.