The former Asda chairman and chief executive said in an interview with online business news service Cantos that retailers have to continually renew their store portfolio if they want to stay agile.
He said: 'If you have a company like Asda, where we had 200 stores, most of the good stores you open should be good for 20 years. As the portfolio evolves, you've got to be closing 5 per cent a year, to keep moving on. When you get a very successful high-margin format, stock market pressures mean you need a property every year. The temptation is not to worry about your trial of walking wounded.'
Norman, who as late as last year was tipped to be involved in a bid to buy Sainsbury's, also predicted that the number of retailers owned by private equity will double in the next 10 years. This is mainly because there is so much venture capital out there to be invested at the moment.
He said: 'I think that private equity tends to like retail because its very leadership and management leveraged. Retail businesses are analysable and they fit into the spreadsheet. For private equity funds, which like to manage down their risks by understanding their investments really well, retail is the sort of territory where they can do that.'