The trend for cost-conscious shoppers to cut back on gifts for extended families in favour of spending on their children knocked sales at Asda in the run-up to Christmas (The Times £). Sales slipped at Asda in the final three months of last year after customers cut back on spending in the run-up to Christmas (The Guardian). Asda saw sales fall in the crucial Christmas quarter as budget-conscious customers were ‘more mindful in their spending’ (The Daily Mail).

Walmart plans for Asda hang in the balance as UK disappoints (The Telegraph).

The world’s biggest retailer Walmart has reported a drop in profits and a sharp slowdown in US revenue growth after sales of toys, computer games and clothing were unexpectedly weak in the run-up to Christmas. (The Financial Times £)

Business groups warned that major industries would face a shortage of vital workers after the government outlined its new points-based immigration system to limit the number of low-skilled workers coming to the UK (The Guardian).

The Food and Drink Federation spoke of concerns about bakers, meat processors and workers making food like cheese and pasta not qualifying under the new system (The BBC). National Farmers’ Union president Minette Batters argued the proposals could “severely impact the farming sector” (Sky News).

Campaigners have called for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to save banknotes and coins, saying without urgent new laws the cash system could collapse within a decade (The BBC). The UK’s cash system is at risk of collapse unless legislation can be passed to protect it, according to a review panel (Sky News).

The £360bn retail property sector has joined calls for the government to urgently overhaul the business rates system. Revo, which represents hundreds of retailers, high street landlords and consultants, has written to the Treasury asking it to accelerate the “fundamantal” review of business rates. (The Times £)

The final 11 Beales department stores are set to close, after administrators failed to find a buyer (The Times £). The sun is to finally set on Beales’ 11 remaining department stores, putting hundreds of jobs at risk (The Telegraph). Department store Beales is set to have the doors closed on its the final stores, putting hundreds of jobs at risk (Sky News).

One of Kirin’s biggest investors has given the brewer an ultimatum, demanding it choose between a significant change to its board or risk a proxy battle at the annual meeting. (The Financial Times £)

WH Smith has banished the Daily Telegraph from its outlets in railway stations, escalating an industry-wide battle over shrinking margins for newspaper retailers. (The Telegraph)