Going Into Administration This Week Is

Whittards, the High Street tea and coffee retailer, according to the Telegraph. Although not officially in administration yet Ernst & Young have already been lined up for the job apparently.

Ernst & Young, the new Sam Alladyce.

The news follows a disastrous day on the stock market for retailers yesterday, with Home Retail, the Argos owner, Debenhams and Comet-owner Kesa all taking a battering.

Whittards employees are now the hot favourites to follow their counterparts at Woolies and MFI down to the dole office.

PricewaterhouseCoopers figures suggest that 82% of retailers are discounting their merchandise this weekend. This comes at a time when the High Street retailers are normally generating enough profits to see them through the rest of the winter months.

There could be more household names with their heads on the block in the new year methinks.

Incidentally, I went late night shopping in Harrogate last Thursday, and was shocked at how quiet the town was. I swear there were more staff than customers in most of the shops. Even M&S. Some of the more specialist shops had nobody in them at all apart from the staff. When you walked past one, the staff looked up eagerly to see if you'd come in, a pathetic pleading look in their eyes. Only to realise that, just like everybody else, you weren't coming in at all. Merely dodging the carol-singing nutter with the Big Issue. It was like walking round the RSPCA Dog Rescue Centre. Or the little match girl in reverse.

Harrogate town centre, the new three-legged greyhound that nobody wants.