The latest retailer to be effected by the recession is Whittard of Chelsea which is thought to be on the brink of administration today.

The 122-year-old tea and homewares chain, which is backed by Landsbanki the failed Icelandic bank, called in Ernst & Young as standby administrator following the news that Landsbanki decided to stop funding the business.

The news comes as many retailers go on January sale before Christmas in a bid to tempt shoppers to spend.

PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that a record 82 of the country’s biggest retailers were running discounts.

Begbies Traynor, the restructuring firm, expects up to 15 retailers to go bust by the end of next month.

It is thought Whittard will trade through the Christmas period while Ernst & Young talks to interested parties who might buy some of its 130 store leases.

It is believed that Landsbanki decided to stop lending to Whittard after a team from KPMG appointed to sell the business last month failed to find a buyer.