High Street carnage: who's next?

An HMV storeBritain's retailers are dropping like flies, with music giant HMV, photography specialist Jessops and video rental chain Blockbusters all forced into administration in the last few days.

And there is doubtless more pain on the way. Here, we reveal some of the most likely contenders for closure.

Home Retail (Argos and Homebase)
Shares in Home Retail leapt by more than a third last year as investors reacted positively to the company's plans to restructure its Argos brand for the digital age.

However, despite recent figures showing that Argos sales increased by 2.7% in the 18 weeks from to January 5, 2013, margins continue to fall.

Fellow Home Retail brand Homebase has also struggled to pull in the punters, and new data from the Financial Services Authority reveals that at least nine big hedge funds are betting against the company's shares.

Having babies never goes out of fashion, but many mums-to-be now prefer to do their shopping online rather than struggling round the shops.

Maternity products retailer Mothercare is one of the losers of this trend. It recently reported a 7.4% fall in total group sales - despite growing international sales.

However, analysts believe that action is needed now if the business is to weather the "challenging consumer backdrop".

Others that could go under
Some 52 retail chains collapsed last year, and with three big brands going into administration already this year, the signs for the sector do not look good.

The British Retail Consortium has predicted that a number of well-known chains will collapse after failing to make enough money over Christmas.

"At this time of year there will be some retailers for whom the sums don't add up, and it will be a challenge," it said.

And while the retailers mentioned above are among those having a difficult time of it, they are far from the only candidates for collapse in the next year or so.

Other retailers that risk running into terminal problems include WH Smith, the book and stationery chain, and flooring specialist Carpetright, which has already narrowly escaped closure once.