Former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King has warned grocers not to neglect their bricks-and-mortar stores and focus too much on online operations.

King said 96p in every pound spent on food in Britain was still spent in physical stores.

Speaking at World Travel Market yesterday, he said: “If you remember that statistic then you’ll think about change in a different way, I think. It just might be that customers really do quite like doing their own shopping in real shops for their food and groceries.”

King added: “If you just focus on making that an ever-better experience and worry a little bit less about the bogeyman you might run a darn sight better business. If you’re convinced that the four [pence in the pound] is the future, then the 96p will become smaller.”