Interest rates have been slashed to a historic low of 1.5 per cent.

The decision by the Bank of England will bring some cheer to beleaguered retailers that continue to be battered by the tough economic climate.

The new year has already brought a raft of administrations and job losses across the sector, with more than 1,200 jobs cut at Marks & Spencer. The future of chains Viyella, Passion For Perfume and Wedgwood all remain unclear after they fell into administration in the past few days, just the latest in a long line of retail victims hit by the financial turmoil.