The number of retailers that fell into administration last year was up 11 per cent with a worrying string of high street casualties just before Christmas.

The total number of retailers in England and Wales that went into administration in 2011 was 183, up from 165 in 2010, according to research carried out by Deloitte.

Heavy discounting and promotions in the run-up to the festive period may have backfired as retailers faced severe pressure on profit margins.

42 stores fell into administration in the last quarter, compared with 33 in the third quarter of 2010 – a 27 per cent rise.

Lee Manning, restructuring services partner at Deloitte, said: "2011 was a tough year for retailers and unfortunately this trend is set to continue well into 2012. Many retailers would have been banking on the busy Christmas period to give them a much-needed sales uplift, but retailers were forced into discounting at levels last seen in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, putting severe pressure on margins."

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