January will be critical for many retailers, Gary Moreton, managing partner at Baker Tilly's Birmingham office, has warned.
He says there are signs of stress in the furniture sector and among some of the clothing and footwear retailers as the impact of cheap products from the Far East has put continued downward pressure on prices and margins.
"Many retailers are in dire need of consumer cash and in the West Midlands we have already seen evidence of significant discounting as seasonal sales are accelerated to get the tills ringing."
The relentless march of the major supermarket chains to diversify their product ranges adds to the specialists' problems.
"The recent collapse of the Unwins off-licence chain is a good example of these problems, as is news of the administration of clothing retailer Kookai," said Mr Moreton.
He suggests significant numbers of retail tenants have been forced into 'time to pay' arrangements with their landlords.
Mr Moreton commented: "As ever, January will be a critical month in cash terms, with a queue of creditors waiting to be paid.
"The queue will include suppliers owed large amounts for the pre-Christmas stocking-up and landlords owed the December quarter rent plus any back-rent and the VAT bill will also loom large.
"Retailers who have delayed their sales until this month, such as those in the furniture sector, will be hoping that January is a significant month."
But, says Mr Moreton, many will struggle and be forced into the need to restructure.
He predicts future viability will in part be driven by the general market prognosis including consumer confidence and spending capacity, the state of the housing market and the capacity or desire for individuals to continue to rack up personal debt.
"With direct and indirect tax increases predicted and with unemployment edging up, the economy is likely to have an adverse impact on retail spending in the short to medium term.
"Other factors putting pressure on footfall in the High Streets include the continued growth of on-line shopping and growing 'anti-car' attitudes with town and city centre planners."