At its results, Asda this week stated that the British consumer is heading for the 'perfect storm'.

In the same breath, on the supply side, oil was nudging $120 per barrel and some analysts are forecasting it could go over $200.

This is a big headache for everybody in grocery. The costs of fertiliser, foodstuffs, packaging and logistics look set to rise further.

Yet despite these challenging headwinds, the grocery trade continues to lead by example. Employing 3.6 million people, exports alone were worth £15.7bn, up 12% versus last year, with big, British companies such as Diageo expanding abroad through its £1.3bn acquisition in Turkey.

And small, innovative operations are continuing to prosper. As the Top 50 survey in this issue shows, some independents are powering away, with growth rates miles ahead of the multiples.

In the last 25 years in grocery, I cannot think of a time with more challenges and more opportunities. So I thought it useful, as guest editor, to call on the insights of two of the great retailers of our times.

Having recently stepped down, Sir Stuart Rose and Andy Bond share their sage advice on how to prosper in the grocery sector. Whether you are a new starter, a store manager, a buyer, supplier or CEO, these two brilliant retailers have some useful tips on how to get ahead.

Prospering amid a 'perfect storm' is going to be a challenge. But it is only at times of uncertainty that you really appreciate what a good job the Institute of Grocery Distribution and The Grocer do for us all. In the last 10 days I have spent a day at the IGD and a day at The Grocer.

Both institutions have really talented people who bring energy and great analysis to our trade. Whether you are a big company or a small firm, you can drive a huge benefit from using these resources properly.

After all, would you want to be in the middle of a 'perfect storm' without a good map and compass?

Watch the video of The Grocer's exclusive Q&A with Charles Wilson