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Nearly one in three retailers in the North West are at risk of failure within the next 12 months, according to figures compiled by R3 using data from Bureau van Dijk’s Fame database.

They show that nearly 3,500 retail businesses – or 30 per cent – are considered at risk. This compares to 25 per cent of businesses at risk in the region overall.

Jeremy Oddie, North West regional chair of R3 and head of recoveries at accountants Mitchell Charlesworth, said that January was a high-risk time for retailers. He said: “Despite the recently closure of Jessops, R3’s figures show that over the past two years, nearly half of all jobs and stores have been saved during major retail failures, thanks to the UK’s flexible insolvency regime.

“However we do need to be honest and realistic in establishing a ‘tipping point’ where resuscitation is impossible. We believe around one in ten retail businesses is a zombie business, kept alive by the forbearance of banks and low interest rates. The big retailers we have recently seen enter administration were known to have been in a precarious situation for some time.

“The high street is having to re-define itself, and many chains have been shedding stores to create a more workable business model. This process could reach a natural conclusion at some point in the year ahead, although we expect a few more major insolvencies in the meantime.”