Making sense of the past seven days
Maybe it was fate. The residents of leafy Gerrards Cross may not have wanted a Tesco store, but as the raft that was supposed to carry it over some railway lines collapsed yesterday, even the most virulent opponents of the store couldn't have expected the project would have come to grief in this way.

The tunnel collapse came just days after a lavish event at the Tower of London, where Tesco invited an eclectic group of the great and the good - ranging from the Slovak Embassy and the National Beef Association to Asthma UK and even Neil Kinnock - to show Tesco isn't the big bad beast it is increasingly portrayed as.

With the UK's number one retailer passing 30 per cent market share in grocery in this week's TNS figures, more and more do-gooders are lining up to have a pop at it. And chairman David Reid's speech at the Tower made it clear that Tesco is acutely aware of the need to demonstrate the large amount of good it does for the UK economy.

But Tesco's problems are nothing to those of number two - but apparently soon to be number three - grocer Asda, where the paranoia about Tesco's power is such that it has quit the British Retail Consortium, claiming Tesco has too much influence over retail's trade body.

The move is petty and bad news for retail as a whole. It will also do nothing to help Asda's big problem, which is that Sainsbury's is closing the gap on it every month. Asda president Andy Bond is new in the job, but must already be feeling Wal-Mart chiefs in Bentonville breathing down his neck.

The market generally remained mixed. Early Sales certainly brought out the shoppers, but loads of coverage in Heat magazine couldn't save French Connection from issuing another profits warning, while Boots chief executive Richard Baker revealed plans to sublet surplus space in its stores.