You might think Tesco was on the verge of going bust judging from the tone of some of the comment this week.

You might think Tesco was on the verge of going bust judging from the tone of some of the comment this week.

Kantar data showed Tesco’s biggest market share loss in 14 years.

And on Wednesday, as he reported a third consecutive quarter of like-for-like decline, even boss Phil Clarke admitted he’d never known such a big quarterly fall in four decades at Tesco.

Clarke is battling on many fronts. From the future of big sheds or the rise of the discounters in the UK to coping with the impact of the coup in Thailand, his in-tray is pretty full.

When the focus is on such pressing problems, it’s easy to overlook the jewels in Tesco’s slightly rusty crown.

One of the brightest must surely be the Express division, with a powerful presence in the growing convenience market.

Good work has been done in Tesco’s c-stores to enhance their appeal to shoppers, such as improving their look and the shopping experience or localising the range.

But Express stores remain a mixed bag. Indifferent service, patchy availability and uninspired ranging can undermine the shopping experience, which is often accompanied by pleas ringing down the aisles for people to use the self-checkout.

Convenience retail is becoming ever more competitive as established rivals such as Sainsbury’s and new entrants such as Morrisons jostle for position.

It’s essential therefore that Tesco continues to devote plenty of TLC to its convenience arm.

It would be disastrous if, by failing to nurture it because of the need to address difficulties elsewhere, it also ended up in the emergency room.

As for Tesco in general, bad as things are it is no write-off. It still speaks for 29% of the grocery market – getting on for double the share of its nearest rival.

But it remains frustratingly unclear when the top retailer will get back to traditional form.