Prime Minister David Cameron invited some of retail’s biggest hitters to Chequers on Sunday, giving hope to store chiefs that the new coalition Government takes retail’s role in the economy seriously.

Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, B&Q chief Ian Cheshire and Marks & Spencer chairman Sir Stuart Rose all attended the Chequers get-together, along with business leaders from other industries. Partners were also invited.

A Downing Street spokeswoman declined to comment on what was said at the “private meeting”.

However, it is understood that those present chatted about the economy, sustainability and the general retail environment.

Sources familiar with the situation said it was primarily a social gathering, and a chance for Cameron to show he is “not against business”.