In a new twist on the popularity of the wedding list, Debenhams has introduced a divorce gift list.
The retailer says it unveiled the concept yesterday to capitalise on the fact that the first day back after Christmas is thought to be when most couples decide to untie the knot.
It believes that a divorce gift list could tap into a genuine need for household goods when marriages fall apart. It points out that one of the marriage partners is going to have to restock on all the basic products when he or she leaves the marital home.
On the other hand, it says, because so many couples live together before they get married, few essential items are required on the wedding gift list.
Debenhams expects that popular divorce gift must-haves will include cookware, cutlery, tableware, glasses and small electricals for the kitchen.
According to the Office for National Statistics, marriages in England and Wales fell by 3.3% in 2007 to 231,450, the lowest number since 1895.
However, the divorce rate is falling too. In 2007 divorces in England and Wales fell to 11.9 divorcing people per 1,000 married population, compared with the 2006 figure of 12.2. The divorce rate is at its lowest level since 1981.