Mr Davies, founder of clothing retailer Next and behind the George at Asda label, says more needs to be done to promote them to director level, reports the BBC.
Women “have more vision than men” and their promotion would help boost firms, he told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours.
Campaigners Women in Retail welcomed his call, saying retail was often still a “boys’ club”.
Research published earlier this year, by the group, found that while 60 per cent of those employed in the retail industry are women and 85 per cent of all retail purchases are made or influenced by women, only 20 per cent of executive teams and 10 per cent of executive boards are female.
Mr Davies, 75 and born in Crosby, Merseyside, said:
“If there was better representation of them in executive teams maybe the high street wouldn’t be struggling as much as it is,”
The board on Mr Davies’s FG4 clothing label is made up of 51 women and 19 men, a 67 percent-33 percent split.
[Women] work quicker and harder than men.The retail industry needs people who visit stores and understand customers and that’s why I think the gender mix on executive boards should be at least equal.
“I always say about men, when it comes to fashion they can be as trendy as hell until they’re 20 years old but as soon as they’re 30 they dress like their dads – that’s why retail is struggling,”
Fiona Davis, director at Women in Retail, said their research and assessments involved interviews with employees at 44 UK-based retailers.
The results suggested that women lacked confidence when applying for top jobs and that there was a lack of provision for flexible working.
“Retailers are missing an opportunity to maximise their talent pool. They need to walk in the shoes of their customers and they’re not doing that without the right gender balance in their board rooms,” Ms Davissaid.