Seven retailers collapsed on every single working day, on average, during the first quarter of the year, the accountant PricewaterhouseCoopers said yesterday, revealing figures that lay bare the impact of the worst recession for at least 35 years.

PWC said 705 retailers fell into insolvency between January and March, a 60% increase on the same quarter last year.

'Survival of the fittest will be the mantra for 2009 – those with an inappropriate capital structure or a poor proposition will struggle to survive,' said Andrew Garbutt, retail director at PwC. 'In 2008 we saw relatively weak retailers going to the wall, but even good companies may disappear as they are exposed by low sales volumes and debt burdens.'

The Independent