Sainsbury is launching a car insurance product as it powers up its financial services to ward off competitors such as Tesco, Asda and Marks and Spencer. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee has criticised DEFRA management as incapable of meeting the challenges facing the department and expressed dissatisfaction with the administration. The attack was made in its annual report. A possible Marks and Spencer deal for the sale of its American Kings Super Markets business to Gristede's Foods has run out of time. M&S is now reported to be in negotiations with another supermarket company. The DTI has cleared Irish wholesale and retail chain Musgrave's acquisition of Budgens. Asda has confirmed it will open a further 63 instore jewellery departments. It is also introducing 30 additional in-store opticians and 29 photo centres in a bid to become "a 21st century department store". The Costcutter web site is being updated so retailers are able to print off their own PoS to promote local offers. The new-look site will include shelf planograms. Despite poor weather like for like retail sales grew 4% in June according to the latest British Retail Consortium sales monitor. Tesco Computers for Schools project put £7.5m worth of IT equipment in schools in 2001, making it the UK's biggest cause-related marketing scheme, according to Business in the Community's cause-related marketing tracker. Graduate shortfalls of 14% are likely in the food, drink and tobacco sectors, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters. Starting salaries are likely to increase to an average £20,300 in 2002/3. The UK's leading training awards scheme, The National Training Awards, has had a record number of entries from supermarkets this year. Tesco is trialling a new Remarkable Recycled' range of stationery for children at 45 of its stores. Grocery charity Caravan has increased its welfare spending by 25% in the past two years, and now assists 1,200 beneficiaries. It will hold its annual general meeting on August 15 at the Moët Hennessy HQ, 13 Grosvenor Crescent, London. Defra food minister Elliot Morley is pressing the EU to ban exports of live animals. Safeway has appointed a new advertising agency, Clemmow Hornby Inge. It will take over from incumbent Bates 141 in September. Safeway denies it is planning to return to TV advertising. The co-operative Dairy Farmers of Britain is asking members to sign a financial agreement which it hopes could raise its borrowing potential to £140m. The agreement will also qualify producers for a Member Capital Account under their name. Nestlé claims it has taken the lead in the Russian bottled water market after acquiring Salt Springs, which produces 10% of the country's bottled water market by volume. Diabetes UK and the Food Standards Agency have issued a joint statement condemning foods labelled "suitable for diabetics" as overpriced andof no real benefit to diabetics. They want the label dropped. {{NEWS }}