Tesco’s £4bn sale of South Korean retail arm dominates the business pages this morning.

The Times (£) writes that selling its South Korean business may not have been Tesco’s first choice. “If Tesco could have secured a bumper valuation for Dunnhumby, its data analytics business, it would have rather sold that instead,” it suggests. “Demand from cash-rich private equity groups was so high that Tesco was receiving unsolicited bids before it launched a formal sales process led by HSBC and Barclays.”

“If Tesco were another grocer, hiving off a lossmaking business for more than expected might buoy market spirits and lift the company’s shares”, writes the FT’s Lombard column. “Not Tesco whose shares fell on news it had sold Homeplus in South Korea”. It adds that Even the bulls don’t think Tesco will regain investment grade status for a long while yet. “Tesco’s South Korean operations might have been fairly called Homeplus, but its UK operations are still home-minus”. (The Financial Times £)

The Mail says the deal represents another international “retreat” for the retailer. In 2006 foreign growth was key to Tesco’s plans, but In 2011 Tesco pulled out of Japan, while in 2013 it abandoned its attempt to break into the American market with its Fresh & Easy start-up. In the same year it diluted its interest in China. (The Daily Mail)

The Guardian focuses on the impact of the sale on Tesco’s debt – noting it could reduce net debt, which stood at £8.5bn in April, by as much as £3.35bn Rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poors, which have cut Tesco’s debt to junk status, said the sale of Homeplus was a step in the right direction, but not enough to prompt an upgrade the retailer. (The Guardian)

Elsewhere, the slowing growth of Primark days before its US launch is the major story to have come from Associated British Foods’ somewhat downbeat pre-close statement. ABF is susceptible to currency because Primark, which accounts for more than half of profits, buys most of its clothes in dollars but sells them in sterling and euros. (The Times £). But ABF’s finance director, John Bason, said there was no structural slowdown at Primark and blamed unseasonable weather for the weaker growth. (The Financial Times £)

However, the FT’s Lex column advises investors to look beyond Primark, suggesting it is sugar “causing cavities in the books”. “Don’t forget the foods business. Primark is 38% of revenues and 60% of profits. What happens elsewhere still matters. And at the moment, what happens elsewhere is hurting.” (The Financial Times £)

Justin King, the former chief executive of J Sainsbury, has taken on his first major role after leaving the supermarket giant. The 54-year-old retail veteran, who has also held senior positions at Marks & Spencer and Asda, has agreed to join UK private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners as vice-chairman. (The Telegraph)

Retail sales fell last month, held back by wet weather and the late bank holiday, which hit key back-to-school sales. The British Retail Consortium/KPMG Sales Monitor said like-for-like sales fell 1pc in August compared to a year ago, with the late date of last month’s public holiday counted in September, meaning that clothing, footwear and stationary were all lower. (The Telegraph)

“Sunday trading plans will put independent stores at risk”, writes James Lowman chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores in The Guardian. The government’s consultation closes next week and there are fears that longer opening hours will cause small retailers to go out of business. (The Guardian)

The chairman of Sainsbury’s and the boss of the insurer Legal & General are to lead a campaign to simplify boardroom pay. David Tyler, chair of the supermarket group, and Nigel Wilson, who runs L&G, are members of a panel being created by the Investment Association, whose members control about a fifth of all companies listed on the stock exchange. (The Guardian)