The wash-out start to the summer added to the woes of the high street and triggered a 10.3 per cent rise in retail collapses between April and June, according to a new a report revealed.
With high profile failures including Julian Graves, Clinton Cards and Game, the number of retailers to fall into insolvency rose to 426 in the second quarter of 2012, up from 386 in the previous year, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The number of casualties has been escalating year-on-year for each of the past four quarters, highlighting the squeeze on the high street as hard-pressed shoppers cut back on non-essential items and seek out discounts.
The wettest April and June on record intensified those problems by keeping shoppers at home and dampening demand for summer clothes.
However, insolvencies across the wider economy, including other sectors such as construction and manufacturing, were down 3 per cent on the previous year.
The West Midlands saw the fourth highest number of corporate insolvencies during the second quarter of this year The highest number of corporate insolvencies was in London with 887, followed by the North West with 535 and Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire with 458.
Matthew Hammond, partner in business recovery services at PwC in the Midlands, said: “It is encouraging that corporate insolvencies in the West Midlands are continuing to decrease, albeit slowly.
“Nationally, the year on year comparison of the number of retail insolvencies has risen, showing the extent to which the retail sector still faces challenging conditions be they weather conditions affecting spring and summer buying patterns or the wary levels of consumer confidence affecting spending decisions.
“On the bright side, and as expected, retail insolvencies have dropped since Q1, when retail insolvencies peaked at the highest level we’ve seen since Q1 2009. This reflected the harsh conditions retailers faced in meeting quarterly rent obligations following a lower than normal Christmas trading period.
“Let’s hope the feel-good factor from the Olympics and the recent change in the position of the jet stream provides a ray of sunshine for British consumers to start spending again to provide retailers and the supply chain with hope for the remainder of the summer and autumn.”