Insolvency specialists see another retail 'bloodbath' on the horizon

Get set for a bloodbath on your local high street after Christmas: a retail bloodbath of the insolvency kind, that is.

This year's drop in spending, alongside rising unemployment, means there's another wave of administrations on the horizon, much like the one witnessed in the opening months of 2009.

You'll remember the slew of closures that saw British high streets say goodbye to Woolworths, the music outlet Zavvi, childrenswear chain Adams and tea and coffee merchant Whittard of Chelsea. Book store Borders is one retail casualty that didn't even make it as far as the festive period, never mind through it.

R3, the industry body for insolvency practitioners, says the situation will be propelled by creditors "biding their time" until after the peak trading period before they call in loans. There's January's VAT increase to consider too.

The body's president, Peter Sargent, offers the sobering thought: "While it would be comforting to think that the worst of the downturn is over, it's worth remembering that insolvency peaks after a recession ends."

And his advice for anyone who owns a retail outlet? "We urge retailers to seek advice early when there is a better chance of rescue, rather than desperately clinging on, hoping that Christmas will cure all ills."