Retail insolvencies reached their highest level in five years, with 1,287 businesses across England, Scotland and Wales going bust in the year to the end of March.

A report by accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy found that retail insolvencies were up 12% on the previous year.

Retailers including fashion chain Internacionale, footwear retailer Barratts, home furnishings retailer Paul Simon and TV shopping channel Sit-Up have hit the buffers in the past year.

Wilkins Kennedy said that small independent convenience stores were being squeezed out of business by the big supermarkets expanding into the convenience store sector.

Anthony Cork, partner at Wilkins Kennedy, said: “The supermarkets have the financial power to snap up the best small, inner-city locations with heavy footfall, and due to their scale can price very aggressively against convenience stores. Unfortunately, many independent convenience stores struggle to match the quality of product of bigger retailers because they lack the scale of purchasing and logistics.”

He added: “Whilst the boom in the housing market and the overall recovery is helping big ticket retailers and DIY shops it does less to help the typical small-scale food and drink retailers.”

The report also said that lending to the retail sector in March 2014 reached £17bn, up from a low of £15.5bn in August 2013, and the highest figure since November 2011.

Cork added: “After so many high-profile insolvencies, we hope that the increased lending will give the sector a much-needed boost. Unfortunately banks will be less inclined to lend to smaller retailers.”