A new report on shop closures offers a snapshot of how Britain's high streets are changing.
A record number of shops closed in December, footfall was down and there are alarming signs for the future.
The wash-out start to the summer added to the woes of the high street and triggered a 10.3% rise in retail collapses between April and June.
The British Retail Consortium has reported that more than half of high street stores will be making staff cuts this spring.
ITV Daybreak spoke to Fiona Wilson from the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, she said: "We would expect to see some seasonal changes in the new year".
Half of all shops on the high street plan to cut staff over the next few months, as many struggle to stay afloat.
The warning from the British Retail Consortium comes as thousands of shop staff, made redundant since Christmas, try to find work.
ITV Daybreak's Katy Fawcett reports.
– A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman
High streets are facing challenges such as the rise of internet shopping, which is why the Government is offering practical support. That's why we've doubled the amount of small business rate relief and extended it for a year to help up to half a million new and smaller shops.
For budding entrepreneurs, we're providing over £80 million of start-up loans for young people starting their own businesses.
– Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium
The fact that total employment edged up during this quarter, driven by part-time workers, is a shaft of light against an otherwise challenging backdrop.
It shows that, despite relentlessly tough times, retailers are continuing to invest in people and support job creation as much as they can.
But the record drop in store numbers is stark evidence that this investment should not be taken for granted. We're by no means out of the woods yet, and given the administrations of recent weeks, the next quarter's figures are likely to make difficult reading.
Around 50 per cent of retailers said they planned to cut staffing levels in the next few months, with only 4% expecting to create jobs, according to a new survey.
There were also almost 600 fewer shops last month even before the recent collapse of a raft of High Street names, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
However, employment in the retail sector rose by 0.6% in the final quarter of 2012 compared with a year earlier, driven entirely by part-time workers, the study found.
The survey, covering 1.3 million workers at 25 major retailers, showed that Christmas was not a disaster for traders, but staffing levels were kept "modest".
- The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey has showed that the overall number of insolvencies saw the biggest increase in North East and Cumbria, up 70% to 277.
- But the West saw failure levels drop nearly a third to 117.
- With high profilefailures including Julian Graves, Clinton Cards and Game, the number ofretailers to fall into insolvency rose to 426 in the second quarter of 2012.
- Mothercare, JJB Sports and Halfords have all revealed dismal results in recent weeks as the wet weather piled more pain on the struggling sector.
PwC retail specialist Mike Jervis has said that 'many retailers have too many high street stores, while shoppers are increasingly migrating online to operators such as Amazon'.
– PwC retail specialist Mike Jervis
There has been a clear reduction in the incidence of insolvencies over the current recession compared to previous ones, but retail is the sector which keeps bucking this trend.