Marks & Spencer chief executive Stuart Rose this week called on retail landlords to listen to their tenants so that both parties could work towards providing a ‘dream’ environment for shoppers.

Speaking at the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) annual conference in Belfast on Tuesday Rose said, if landlords and tenants worked closely together, they would enjoy a bright future, even in today’s harsh trading environment.

Rose played down the strained relationship between retail landlords and tenants.

‘I believe it actually overhyped,’ he said. ‘Personally we have always had a cordial relationship with our landlords. We are both in the same game, we both want the ability : lets: let'sto be flexible.

‘I think in the past the relationship has been adversarial but in the last five years there has been extensive co-operation the key is for both to be flexible to each needs. But you must listen to your tenants and create bright, exciting and safe malls.’