UK Retailers Face Another Bleak Christmas

(Reuters) – MANY STRUGGLING BRITISH RETAILERS are facing a worse Christmas than last year, when 15 major chains failed, according to insolvency specialist Begbies Traynor.

The company said rising unemployment and fragile consumer confidence would result in many companies entering formal insolvency proceedings within a year.

‘Christmas 2009 could see just as many retail casualties as last year, affecting particularly those businesses with heavy debt burdens, any with weak online offerings and those reliant on discretionary, non-essential spending,’ said Nick Hood, Senior London Partner at Begbies.

Begbies said its Red Flag warning system showed 125 retail companies encountered critical problems in September, up 37% from August.

Just last week, outdoor goods retailer Blacks Leisure announced plans to close 89 loss-making stores and axe jobs as part of a recovery plan.

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