The grocery industry is bracing itself for a major offensive by Tesco against Asda and the resurgent discounters following the departure of Sir Terry Leahy next week.

Sir Terry will step down on Tuesday after 14 years as CEO, during which time he transformed Tesco from a successful UK supermarket business into a global retail giant. Industry experts predict his replacement Philip Clarke and new UK chief executive Richard Brasher will be keen to make their mark sooner rather than later.

"Tesco will want to hit back at Asda properly over its Price Guarantee, but it will want it to come from the new man," said one senior industry source. "It was very quick to respond to the challenge of the discounters three years ago and I would expect to see it act swiftly again now."

Clarke must hit the ground running, said analysts. "In the short term he will have to ease negative investor fears over stock," said James Amstead at Barclays Capital. "He must convince investors the UK business still offers attractive growth."

In typical Tesco fashion, Sir Terry's exit will not be accompanied by great fanfare. "We will mark his contribution to the company, but will keep it fairly low-key," said a spokesman.