Are they crying wolf?
This time, I think it's for real. While the takings are down, the other costs faced by retailers have been spiralling. Trying to keep the turnover up by having a presence in all the new shopping malls must be an expensive business and the rent has to be paid even if the goods aren't selling. Credit insurers are pulling the plug on many retailers because they fear they will go bust.
DSGI (Dixons, Currys etc) is currently valued at only 10 weeks turnover.
Woolworths is worthless and M&S are having to hold sales before Christmas to shift stock.
If they're kidding us, it's a very convincing lie.