Life isn’t easy for British retailers -- price wars, the wrong kind of weather and encroachment from online merchants like Amazon.com Inc. have all posed difficulties in recent years. Now the new National Living Wage, a compulsory pay increase for over-25s that took effect this month, is increasing costs and adding to concerns about the outlook. More than 20,000 retailers ended the first quarter in a “dire financial state,” according to U.K. advisory firm Begbies Traynor.

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