Retailers have a "dynamite" opportunity to boost community ties and profits by tapping into social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, Today's Group managing director Bill Laird said.

"Social media will become a key business tool for retailers in the years to come, and they would be wise to get to grips with it now. The days of doing business on a desktop are numbered. The future is in handheld devices such as mobile phones and pads.

"Facebook had more than 100 million users just nine months after launch. It's incredible, and it's only going to get bigger," he added.

In Laird's vision of the future all Today's members will have their own Facebook pages where customers' suppliers and stores could interact with one another.

"Peer recommendations are what it's all about. They command a huge amount of respect, certainly more than traditional adverts," he said.

"This is a huge opportunity, and at Today's we are conscious we must grab it as soon as possible. I'm confident we'll have exciting developments in this field by the end of 2011," he added.