Attack of the Superstore

After Tesco entered the Thai market in 1998 with its brand of colorful, well-stocked superstores, angry local competitors tried to impede the powerhouse U.K.-based retailer's progress with a wall of lawsuits—including one that would have forced Tesco Lotus, the company's regional subsidiary, to shut off air conditioning because chilly stores posed a public health hazard to the equatorial Thai people. Frivolous legal actions were a minor nuisance compared with what came next. Over a five-month period last year, two Tesco Lotus outlets were bombed, another peppered with automatic weapons fire and yet another hit by a rocket-propelled...