The major supermarket chains had a very difficult year in 2014. Much of the attention was focused on Tesco who delivered plenty of bad news including profit warnings and a management change.

Much of the change that former CEO Philip Clarke brought in does not seem to have worked. Couple this with the apparent ‘must hit the profit target by any means’ culture, and you’d be left thinking the UK’s largest retailer must change.

I think that we will see some significant change in 2015 as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons look to repair their profitability. The “what would you do if you were the CEO” game can be instructive for your own business.

When I was a branch manager for WHSmith, I attended several training courses at the management college. One of these in the early 1980s included an exercise based on the then troubled Burton menswear chain.

The managers on the course were split into teams and asked to put together the synopsis of a business plan to improve the company. We were given a day to develop our plan and the present it to the other course members and the trainer. While we didn’t come up with the Top Shop concept, being challenged to look at a different business channel showed us all that business success comes down to the same things.

Continue reading to see four key actions independent retailers should take on board from Tesco’s Christmas trading and strategy update.