Retailers who survive the downturn could pick up £3.9bn of business over the next few years.

The business left by retail casualties will be available for survivors to try to win according to Verdict Research.

The main areas of opportunity will be in clothing and footwear and furniture and floorcoverings, the areas most affected by the downturn.

Verdict Research lead analyst Maureen Hinton said: “Although we expect just over £1bn to be available to competitors from lost sales in clothing & footwear, it is unlikely that any one retailer will make significant market share gains across the board. On the other hand, once the housing market recovers, the main players and non-specialists in furniture & floorcoverings are set to benefit from the £855m that we estimate will be available.”

According to Verdict there were 100 retail casualties between January 2008 and March 15 2009. The total sales of these casualties totalled £6.5bn