Compare and contrast...what the industry had to say at the time of Asda's takeover and the words of wisdom they're offering now, two years on Ex-Tesco chairman Lord MacLaurin of Knebworth (May 1999) "Before entering a new market you must feel you can add value. I think Wal-Mart will have reviewed the market here and decided against it. "One of the reasons Tesco never opened stores in the US was we believed we could not add value there. I don't think they're coming now." Tesco chief executive Terry Leahy (June 1999) "The tougher it is, the better we get, so we hope they'll offer us good competition." City analyst (June 1999) "However fast Asda has grown in recent years, Wal-Mart will want it to grow faster. The route to that is lower prices." Woman shopper (June 1999) "Does that mean Asda will start selling guns, then?" Philip Horsfield, Allerdene Foodmarkets, Gateshead (June 1999) "It will be interesting to see what Wal-Mart does in the UK. I have a sneaky feeling the top item on its agenda will not be shaking up the marketplace, but making a profit." Chris Lewis, MD, Food Weighouse (June1999) "The news about Wal-Mart has sent many independent retailers into a spin. But this is good news for consumers and a call to arms for enterprising retailers. It's just the kind of shock to the system we need to stop us being complacent." Richard Perks, Retail Intelligence (June 1999) "The real response to the Wal-Mart threat has yet to come. Only by thinking on a European and international scale can the European leaders respond effectively." Clive Beddall, The Grocer editor (June 1999) "We told you so! But out of sympathy for misguided analysts, pontificating radio pundits and motley food mags who scoffed at our prediction Wal-Mart was coming, I'll resist the temptation to gloat. Suffice to say, we never doubted that the world's biggest retailer would eventually buy a grocery business in Yorkshire." Spar MD Morton Middleditch (July 1999) "We must be concerned that Wal-Mart will seek a relaxation of the Sunday trading laws and this could lead to complete deregulation. This will add another pressure on small stores. We must be prepared to fight to retain our advantage." Martin Graham, chief executive of Cearns and Brown (October 1999) "Let us not fall into the trap of arrogance and ignorance. Newcomers are not interested in our traditional view of how business is done." Ex-Asda chief executive Allan Leighton (Feb 2000) "I've never been through a trading period like it. The integration with Wal-Mart has worked well. We're ahead of expectations. It's almost been a breeze." Marc Dubery, Unilever's customer business centre director (June 2001) "The firm made an early decision to set up a completely new customer business centre when Wal-Mart arrived in the UK, that was committed to developing the synergies that existed between the two companies in other countries around the world, especially the US. "Unilever subsidiary companies in the UK already had very productive and successful relationships with Asda, but Wal-Mart is Unilever's biggest customer throughout the world, so their arrival in this country provided an opportunity for us to start afresh and to develop a bespoke and co-ordinated approach. The Wal-Mart customer business centre is now based close to Asda House in Leeds." Carlos Criado-Perez, Safeway chief executive (June 2001) "They still have a question mark over whether they can make people from Leeds speak and think like people from Bentonville. If they can maintain their performance in the US they can succeed in Europe because they will give it a long learning curve. Should their performance in the US [ever falter] they will be ruthless and get out." {{COVER FEATURE }}