Retail sales climb
Total retail sales last month climbed to their highest level in four years, the British Retail Consortium has revealed. The BRC's monthly sales figures show that in April total retail sales increased 9.8% compared with a year ago. Kevin Hawkins, director general of the BRC, said: "Discounting has played a big part in these results."

Shares rise
Shares in Cadbury Schweppes were on the up this week amid rumours that the confectionery giant could be the target for a bid. Analysts speculated that Kraft Foods, US confectioner Hershey or investor Warren Buffett could be interested parties.

Sector skills help
Food and drink sector skills council Improve has created a modular skills recognition system to make professional qualifications more accessible. The system, to be formalised in September 2006, will be boosted by commitments from the Learning and Skills Council and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.