The world’s top retailers do not expect any recovery in the economy for up to two years, denting any hopes of green shoots.

Two thirds of retailers said they are experiencing difficulties with suppliers, resulting in stock shortages, while almost three quarters were not communicating frequently with their suppliers’ credit insurers, according to an AlixPartners survey.

The survey of 100 of the world’s biggest retailers found that store groups are surviving the recession by taking short-term action, such as paying suppliers late, as well as more long-term structural action, including store and warehouse closures and staff cuts.

AlixPartners managing director Pippa Wicks said the best retailers are paying particular attention to cash management but that only half of respondents are looking at their cash on a weekly basis.

She said: “In today’s environment, relatively healthy companies can suddenly find themselves in a liquidity crunch if they don’t keep a close eye on the cash.”

The survey consisted of an online questionnaire conducted by the World Retail Congress, and focus interviews conducted by AlixPartners.