Speaking at Britain's Most Admired Companies awards 2013, Stephen Hider, retail operations director at Waitrose, said firms should think carefully about their brand and how they are perceived.
'In times of economic downturn, customers turn to trusted brands, and that has certainly helped John Lewis and Waitrose navigate these choppy waters.'
He also said he admires companies which continue to innovate. 'Giving something new to customers is always challenging in the retail environment, but I think customers look for that continuous change.'
'There's a lot of heritage within our business and we have a very strong DNA,' he added. 'We don't have shareholders and we can invest for the longer-term.'