Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, N Brown and Debenhams are reportedly putting pressure on suppliers to ease the pain of tough trading conditions.

Marks & Spencer has asked its suppliers to contribute towards its £600m refurbishment programme but at least one has refused the request and others are likely to take a similar stance, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The Financial Times reported that home shopping N Brown has asked its suppliers for discounts of between 1% and 2% since October 1.

Debenhams suppliers have the option to have invoices paid earlier than its standard period of up to 120 days in return for a discount.

Unseasonably warm weather and battered consumer confidence have been blamed for poor consumer spending in the run-up to Christmas.

Michael Wolff, a director of M&S supplier the Fielding Group, told the Financial Times: “We are at the bottom of the barrel.”