The big four will be saying “good riddance” to yet another year. That is the price of taking one’s customers for granted, the cost of being supplier-driven, the payback for sleeping at the wheel.

Indeed, in many markets such a condition would imply extinction. Accordingly, the opportunity the British grocery market still provides for the incumbent big four needs to be taken.

Smelling salts can be powerful, and we have seen their collective effect in 2014, which may make for an interesting 2015.

The discounters have been a tail wagging the dog for a few years now, but maybe change is afoot. Starting with Asda, we have seen a demonstrable narrowing of the price differential with the limited-assortment chaps, but remember that Asda has the assortment. We noted with particular interest how Asda felt self-confident enough in its Q3 2014 to talk about setting its sights now on the LADs.

“After all that has gone on this year, the future may yet be about Tesco”

Morrisons, with its I’m Cheaper strategy of March, took on Aldi and Lidl more overtly than ever with its Match & More campaign. Morrisons’ work rattled the LADs’ cages, exemplified by Lidl’s witty and Aldi’s nasty advertising responses. If Morrisons sees its rhetoric through, with cost-cutting and cash conservation in tow, then it may be a star of 2015.

Sainsbury’s is in a difficult position as it does not want to fight in the price-value quadrant of the supermarket playground.

We cannot fault management’s cautious guidance - exemplified by the expectation of several years of negative like-for-like sales - but such a position shows the bind the group faces as its non-price leadership in product specification, range, counters and services does not hold sway.

Which, heading into the new year, brings us to the elephant in the room: the trading strategy to be applied by Tesco.

We believe the effectiveness of Dave Lewis’s strategy will set sector prospects for the next five years. In our view he has to be intelligent and measured, given market conditions and Tesco’s balance sheet, yet unbelievably imaginative and bold.

There is so much to write about for 2015 in the world of British supermarkets and still, after all that has gone on, the future may yet be about Tesco.

Clive Black is head of research at Shore Capital Stockbrokers