Making sense of the past seven days
Yet again, there is talk that Tesco and other big grocers face a new competition inquiry into their market power. The New Economics Foundation, the self-appointed scourge of clone town Britain, is the latest to press for curbs on Tesco's power.

In the midst of the worst downturn faced by store groups in decades, no doubt some retail chiefs would welcome the brakes being applied to the grocer's acceleration. But Tesco is a beacon of UK business success and, much as people may complain, it has achieved its leading position through relentless customer focus. Why on earth should that be punished?

Of course success brings power, and no doubt there are suppliers that believe the supermarket's might means its offers are the sort that can't be refused. Tesco needs to address such complaints and be seen to address them.

Penalising Tesco will not necessarily help other hard-pressed retailers. It's a fact that many of today's retail managers have little or no experience of trading through a real downturn. But they are misguided if they think that reining in the supermarket will bring more custom. They should instead concentrate on leveraging their own strengths and combating their weaknesses.

At lunch yesterday with former Kingfisher boss Sir Geoff Mulcahy, he recalled that B&Q was one of the few store groups that traded through and emerged stronger from the last recession.

Archie Norman, the rescuer of Asda and a former colleague of Mulcahy, elaborates on this approach in Retail Week this week. It seems the best way of coping with Tesco and downturn alike is improved retailing.

We also report on the launch of the first dedicated marketing campaign to promote Christmas shopping in the troubled West End of London. It's a welcome initiative that should help retailers in the district, which have of course been battered by turbulent trading conditions since the July bombings.

For the past several years, funding the famous Oxford Street Christmas lights has proved a particular bugbear. When a commercial sponsor, such as Tango a few years back, has bankrolled the display, there have been howls of outrage. But retailers have often proved reluctant to stump up the cash themselves.

This year a novel solution has been found - members of the public are being encouraged to sponsor the lights at£5 per bulb, with a tranche of the cash going to good causes. It's been organised by radio station Heart 106.2 and department store group Debenhams is the retail partner.

When I looked at web site www.lightuplondon.co.uk this morning, the cashometer showed quite a bit of the street still in darkness. The big switch-on is in just a fortnight's time - let's hope the money comes in because otherwise it's back to the drawing board next year for an idea that will finally solve the problem of paying for the lights.