David Prosser: A second wave of high-street failures

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The Independent Online

Outlook These are dark days for all but the strongest retailers. At one stage in 2010, it seemed as if the high street had turned the corner, putting the recession, which claimed the likes of Woolworths, behind it. But those hopes have been dashed. While the recession prompted the demise of retail's basket cases, the consumer slowdown of the past few months is now mopping up those companies that were weakened rather than killed off.

As we report opposite, while Focus DIY is a big name, its administration is part of a trend in which retail failures have spiked by a third so far this year. And while there was help for the high street during the recession – a VAT cut, for example, as well as extra time to pay tax bills – that has now gone. Unfortunately, with household incomes set to fall this year and possibly again in 2012, Focus will not be the last to suffer this fate.

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