John Lewis Partnership chairman Charlie Mayfield said retailers should be focussing on how they can steal share as economic conditions remain tough.

He told the World Retail Congress: “There’s an opportunity to take market share. Rather than focussing on the market getting better, focus on what you can do better. We’re in the middle of an innovative and exciting period driven by technology, which is something we lose sight of.”

Mayfield, who was last night awarded the ‘Outstanding Leadership’ accolade at the World Retail Awards criticised the short-termism of some retailers and said people should be investing to make sure they have the “capabilities you need to succeed tomorrow”.

He said that the world was changing enormously for retailers and rather thanfocussing on what they’re doing now, they should prepare for the future.

He said technology is changing how shoppers behave and retailers must look carefully at how their business is aligned and where they invest accordingly.

“It’s divisive to have shops worried about their sales, and online worried about theirs. It’s the same customer across both of them,” he said.

Mayfield said retailers are more likely to invest online although he stressed the importance of physical stores.