The number of people unemployed in the UK registered its smallest rise for six months in April, boosting hopes the worst of the fall-out from the economic slump has now passed, according to The Times.
March's increase in headline claimant unemployment was also scaled down to a revised 66,000, against the 74,000 initially reported. This left the total rise in the jobless count over the past two months at less than the 136,000 leap in February alone.
However, despite the rise being lower than expected, the increase means jobless figures hit 2.22 million in the first three months of 2009, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Supermarket chain Sainsbury's says it will press ahead with expansion plans despite reporting a small fall in profits due to a drop in property values, the BBC reports.
It said new store openings and extensions will enlarge floor space by more than 5% this year compared to last year's increase of 4.1%. The retail giant plans to open 50 convenience stores this financial year and 100 in 2010-2011.
Pre-tax profits for the group fell 2.7% to £466m in the year to 21 March although underlying profit rose 11% to £542m. This was fuelled by the popularity of its cheaper product ranges and the fact more people are eating at home rather than dinning out.
Land Securities, Britain's biggest property company, said the value of its portfolio fell by £4.74bn in the year to the end of March, casting doubt on an imminent end to the UK real estate slump, according to The Daily Telegraph.
It said gross rental income across its London and Retail property divisions rose by a total £14.3m, but its rental void rate - the amount of empty space in its portfolio - rose to 4.6pc from 3.5pc last year.
Shares in the company, which owns or part-owns the Bullring Shopping Mall in Birmingham, the Piccadilly Lights and the Cardinal Place office complex in central London, have tumbled by almost 60pc in the past year.
"While the market may see some pockets of stabilisation for certain asset types, we expect conditions to remain challenging in a weak economic environment, with vacancy rates rising and rental values weakening, putting pressure on rental income," says chief executive Francis Salway.
Reasons to be cheerful
Total investment reaches £9m
Medium to long-term capital growth