Almost three-quarters of some of the world's largest retailers expect the current economic downturn to impact their business for up to two more years, according to a survey on Monday from business advisory firm AlixPartners.

The survey of executives at about 100 retailers with headquarters spread across the world's largest economies said firms planned to cope with the expected two-year hangover by making significant structural changes to their businesses.

It said planned actions included store and warehouse closures, staff cuts and product pruning.

The survey also found that almost three quarters of companies were not communicating with their suppliers' credit insurers frequently, while nearly half have had their suppliers' credit limits cut.

This study shows that retailers across Europe, and elsewhere, are not communicating regularly enough with credit insurers, said AlixPartners director Sanjay Bailur.

This lack of communication, coupled with a lax approach to cash management can quickly result in companies facing serious liquidity issues.