Call it the 2020 massacre or the season of company closures but since Christmas a huge number of firms have gone. If the names of Debenhams and Jamie’s Italian are famous for being famous and being famous for failing then the vast number of retailers and restaurants that also go to the wall are ones you may never have heard of.

That said the department store chain Beales called in the administrators in January and although Hawkins Bazaar and Hearing and Mobility may not be household names they did employ hundreds of staff at the string of stores.

It’s been a bad decade or more for pubs with this year The Champion Pub Company, Chef & Brewer Limited and Whitegate Taverns also calling last orders. Cafes like the Wild Food Cafe and Millers Tea Room & Farm Shop Limit have shut up shop while Grastar Restaurants and the Montpeliano Restaurant have closed down. If you read ICSM Credit’s ever lengthening list of Runners and Riders then you will know that retail or hospitality feature along with a surprising number of construction firms and hauliers.

Is it that time of year or a blip? Ian Carrote of ICSM said: “It’s more than a blip. It’s a spike not seen since the Credit Crunch. Whether it lasts we’ll have to wait and see but one underlying factor is a change in lifestyles. You can get superb meals delivered to your door which cuts the cost of eating out, while supermarket wine and beer is much cheaper than going to the pub.

“People have more of a choice at home with Netflix, Amazon, Sky and the rest so they can sit at home in comfort and be entertained while wining and dining at a fraction of the cost. Shopping on-line is the big change with a click of a mouse you have a wider retailing range without all the leg work. And people don’t have the time if they work long hours. So it’s a bit of everything and only time will tell if the numbers of company failures continues at this high rate.”

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