A record number of businesses have gone bust in recent months and experts warn that more misery is on the way.
Over the last four quarters 1,582 Scottish businesses have gone bust, more than twice the number for the whole of 2009.
The third quarter of the year saw almost 25 companies go bust every week, according to analysis by accountants PKF.
While it describes the 13.9% fall from the previous quarter as "relatively positive", PKF said this must be seen in the context of "record levels of business distress".
A total of 320 Scottish companies went bust in the third quarter, the accountants said.
Bryan Jackson, corporate recovery partner with PKF, said: "This fall in the number of corporate failures is welcome but, given the very high figures for previous quarters, it is only a relative improvement from record levels of business distress.
"We can see that the situation in the economy is not improving greatly. Comet are the latest High Street name about to go into administration despite being in the run-up to the busiest retail period of the year. An indication of deep-rooted problems in the sector.
"The problem is that there is not quick fix or easy option. Many businesses are simply treading water in the hope of an upturn some time in the future. However, it is unlikely that this will occur in the coming year so I believe that we will see more high levels of corporate failures in the months to come."