Nerves surrounding the beleaguered retail sector will intensify this week as firms prepare to meet "quarter day" rental payments.
Tomorrow will see many retailers pay three months rent in advance to landlords, heaping further pressure on businesses already under the cosh as they put on special offers to attract economising shoppers.
The period surrounding the last quarter day payments deadline in June saw several retailers forced into administration, including fashion chain Jane Norman, department store chain TJ Hughes and homewares specialist Habitat.
The sector is expected to avoid the same level of bloodshed this time, even though there has been no let-up on the pressure on the high street.
It is understood that banks may be lenient towards struggling companies by extending them more credit so they can carry on trading over the key Christmas season, known as the "golden quarter" for retailers.
However, the next quarter day, in December, is more likely to see a spate of administrations as banks pull the plug after retailers have made the most of the festive trading season.
Retailers' woes worsened last month as riots triggered store closures and retail sales volumes fell 0.2% in August, the Office for National Statistics said.
Figures from the CBI revealed that September was retailers' worst month since May 2010.
One in four retailers is battling cashflow problems, while 8% believe they will go under in the next year, according to insolvency trade body R3.
R3 president Frances Coulson said: "Last time round, rent day identified many businesses that had survived the recession but did not have funds to meet their rental obligations.
"Over the preceding three months we have seen little improvement in retail sales, economic growth or consumers increasing their expenditure. For that reason we are likely to see further retail casualties."
Hopes that the traditional Christmas sales boost could help restore ailing retailers to health could be misplaced, because spending was likely to continue to be depressed, he added.
Many retailers, including Sir Philip Green, the boss of TopShop and Bhs, have campaigned for landlords to allow stores to spread their rental payments throughout the year.