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Retail administrations increase as high street woes continue

2 January 2013

  • 194 retail insolvencies this year, up 6% on 2011;
  • Total administrations across all sectors down 9% in 2012.

The number of retailers falling into administration in 2012 increased by 6% compared with 2011, according to research from Deloitte, the business advisory firm. 194 retailers entered administration in 2012, compared with 183 in 2011 and 165 in 2010. However, there was a slight fall in the last three months of the year compared to the fourth quarter of 2011 (37 vs. 42).

Lee Manning, restructuring services partner at Deloitte, said: “These figures are a stark reminder of the difficulties which continue to face the high street. Constrained household budgets and the structural challenges facing the sector mean it is certain that we will see further distress next year. Christmas trading appears to have been reasonable, though not spectacular and not enough to prevent insolvencies in the first quarter of 2013.  

“It is also notable that high profile, nationwide chains continue to be among the casualties despite the shake-up seen in the sector since 2008. This year alone we have seen Peacocks, La Senza, Blacks, Game, Clinton Cards, JJB Sports and Comet enter administration.

“Consumer confidence remains fragile and where we have seen some respite through lower inflation, this has not translated into increased spending with many consumers preferring to pay down existing debt or save. Strong consumer spending growth is not likely to return any time soon which makes it essential that retailers address the fundamental issues affecting the industry - store portfolios and multichannel.

“There will always be a need for physical retail space but at present, too many retailers have too many stores and 2013 is likely to be marked by further closure programmes, both within and outside of formal insolvency processes. Similarly, as an increasing proportion of retail sales move to online and mobile, retailers need to consider how their stores support sales across all channels by offering flexible delivery or collection options, becoming a product showroom and developing brand engagement and loyalty.”

In total, 1,833 businesses went into administration in 2012, compared with 2,010 last year, a fall of 9%. Almost all of the sectors tracked in our analysis saw a decline in the number of business failures this year, including some of those sectors most affected by the economic difficulties of the past five years. There were 21% fewer administrations in the hospitality and leisure sector (171 vs. 216), 9% in manufacturing (284 vs. 311) and 7% in property and construction (426 vs. 457). Outside of retail, only financial services and the mining & energy sectors saw notable increases (47 vs. 30 and 28 vs. 22 respectively).


Notes to Editors:
About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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James Igoe
Deloitte LLP
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