So even Sir Terry doesn’t get it all his own way.
Today it was reported that the Tesco boss once drew up a £1.25bn blueprint for the most audacious invasion of America since the Beatles.
The scheme involved the creation of 10,000 convenience stores, one on “every junction, in every major city”.
Former Tesco executive Colin Smith lifted the lid on the top man’s grand plan in today’s Financial Times, which also has a lengthy piece on Sir Terry’s legacy. You can read the retrospective here.
Although much of it will be familiar to regular Tesco observers, Sir Terry’s mantra of ‘Act as if you are number two’ remains instructive.
Walmart, one of very few businesses further up the retail ladder, is certainly not standing still. Like its Asda subsidiary in the UK, the world’s largest retailer is poised to unleash a raft of smaller stores across the US, in what marks the next phase of its own domestic expansion.
Of course, Sir Terry’s original American dream is a far cry from where Tesco finds itself today, with just 150 not particularly profitable stores under its Fresh & Easy banner, centred largely in California.
The FT even speculates that Sir Terry’s decision to call it a day sooner rather than later could relate to the likelihood that his Fresh & Easy share options won’t pay out after all.
If that seems implausible, neither is Sir Terry departing in floods of Alexandrian tears due to a lack of worlds to conquer.
As we revealed on Saturday, the UK’s top grocer could soon make its East Coast debut via a move for the 16-strong Food Emporium chain in New York.
Even so, with Tesco last week rejoining the running for Carrefour’s stores in Thailand and Malaysia, it might be that the outgoing chief’s American aspirations are ultimately reincarnated as Philip Clarke’s Asian adventures.
More slices of Daily Bread