Product price rises will be an inevitable consequence of the deepening recession, said New Look executive chairman Phil Wrigley at the Retail Week conference.

He said that although “it seems to me to be counter-intuitive to charge higher prices” when consumers’ budgets are stretched, for those businesses that struggle to further reduce costs and gain extra market share “it is a bit of an inevitability”.

He added that these retailers will “have to share some of the burden with consumers”.

Both Wrigley and Debenhams chairman John Lovering warned that providing value for shoppers is more of a priority than price reduction. Lovering said: “We can’t all be Primark. Consumers want value not necessarily low prices. Consumers want a special product for a special price, rather than the lowest price.”

Wrigley also warned that continuing to fight for market share should be a priority for all retailers. “You have to attack. There are fewer consumers and 9 per cent more retail space. You have to take market share to survive.