These are lean times in the British High Street - the only businesses who claim increased profits are pawnbrokers.
Worryingly, one pawnbroker has announced profits of £466,000 for the year ("up 120% on last year"). They have 130 stores, so the average profit per store is £3,585, or only £69 per week. And that's being hailed as a success!
Although sales in the High Steet were up 6% in January, most commentators believe that was due to heavy discounting, and are still expecting three-month figures to reveal drops in profits. More big high street names are expected to go under by April.
The Police, meanwhile, are expecting riots in high streets come the summer, when rising unemployment will stoke up social unrest and looting becomes more common. They have taken delivery of 10,000 tasers "just in case".
The big high street stores are being told by their insurance companies that only a certain amount of stock will be covered in the event of looting, and that they should not overstock.