The transformation of Britain's high street continues with the likely disappearance of another two well-known retail brands as the owners of Toys R Us and Maplin put their businesses up for sale.
While last-ditch efforts to save the two store chains from collapse remain unresolved, administrators are on standby should ongoing talks fail to find buyers for the businesses.
The fate of electronics supplies chain Maplin, owned by Rutland Partners, remains unclear, but talks with a potential buyer - understood to be Edinburgh Woollen Mill, which also owns clothing retailer Peacocks - were understood to have broken down.
Meanwhile, the future of US group Toys R Us has been in the balance for some time as its owner, too, attempted to sell its retail chain as a going concern.
Its UK business needs £15m urgently to settle a tax bill and is unlikely to be able to meet its obligations without a sale.
The US owner of Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy protection last September, but the UK business was granted a stay of execution after agreeing with the Pension Protection Fund a restructuring plan that would involve a £9.8m cash injection into its pension fund at the cost of 26 store closures.
Poor sales continued to dog both stores over the key Christmas period, however, as competition from discount operators and online rivals continue to dog the traditional high-street and business-park retailers.
Continued problems for the traditional British retailers are putting the labour market under strain. Toys R Us employs around 3,000 people in the UK throughout its 105 stores, while Maplin, whose 200 British outlets, hires in the region of 2,500 staff.
Add to this last year's losses: 11,000 jobs gone with collapse of British Home Stores last April, and 2,500 losses as wholesaler Palmer & Harvey went into administration just weeks before Christmas.
Some smaller high street retailers have also reached the end of the line last year and so far in 2018: they include fashion brand East, with 320 staff; Feather & Black, the bedroom linen retailer, with 120 staff; menswear retailer Greenwoods with 320 staff and Store Twenty-One, budget homewares store, with around 900 staff.
According to data from the Centre for Retail Research there were a total of 44 companies that failed in the UK retail sector last year at the cost of nearly 1,400 stores and more than 12,000 jobs. This followed the failure of 30 companies in 2016 at the cost of 1,500 stores and 26,000 jobs.
The UK economy is retail led, and news of such failures in the sector cast a dark shadow over growth expectations.
Recent retail sales data have indicated slowing activity in the sector. January's 0.1% gain in sales volumes was the lowest growth rate since April 2017 as higher than expected inflation and low wage growth squeezed household budgets.
UK retail sales to January 2018
Rhian Murphy, senior statistician at the Office for National Statistics, said of January's data: "The longer-term picture shows a continued slowdown in the sector that can partly be attributed to a background of generally rising prices."
And as retail sales slow, the pressure continues to pile up on the retail sector. Those who work in stores, fearing for their jobs, curb their spending habits, and add to the pressure.
"With wage growth recovering only gradually, the fiscal squeeze set to intensify again and mortgage rates set to climb, many retailers are risking being caught out again by how weak growth in consumers’ spending will be this year," says Samuel Tombs at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
While it is generally acknowledged that fundamental changes in people's shopping habits have, more than anything, been the cause of the demise of the high street, online retail accounted for just 16.5% - less than a fifth - of all retail sales volumes in January.
While this may seem a small rate in comparison with the total, it is still having a weighty impact on profitability for the high street retailers, and many have been slow to react to the online competition.
City Index analyst Ken Odeluga, commenting on half-year results from Marks & Spencer in November: "We would like to think M&S had recognised some time ago that its general merchandise supply chain 'needs to be faster and lower cost' and that 'digital fulfilment capability' needs more investment to speed up growth.
"Official recognition had of course begun much earlier. But the date of a hard reset will be later than most investors were expecting."
Anecdotal evidence also suggests that stores like Toys R Us are falling victim to practices such as "showrooming". This is where shoppers eye up purchases in store - with their excited children pointing and howling "I want that" - then return home and order the product online at a discount.
A 2012 ComScore study found 35% of consumers in the US reported showrooming, while a year later a survey by the same group reported that 73% of consumers it polled said they had indulged in the practice.
It appears, then, that UK retailers are coming under pressure from a number of angles. Rising inflation and low wage growth have, in the past year at least, crimped consumer spending. The retail sales figures have been disappointing for a number of months, despite growth in consumer credit.
Meanwhile, even though joblessness in the UK has fallen to historically low levels, we remain cautious spenders. It may have something to do with political uncertainties such as Brexit, but it is much more likely that prudent UK shoppers are waiting for prices to come down before embarking on spending sprees.
Finally, the high street retailers have been slow to react to changing consumer behaviour such as the growth in online sales.
Brian Johnson at insolvency specialists HW Fisher & Co says of the Toys R Us failure: "The existing business model built around large warehouse sites left the company unable to cope with the changing marketplace and the challenge of the internet."