The slow collapse of online retailer The Iconic is a bit like watching a drug addict spiral into eventual destruction. Everyone knows it's going to happen, it's just a question of when the body will be carried out.

Last week, the struggling dot.com announced it had raised $28 million from family-owned Belgian investment company Verlinvest. But like almost everything that emanates from The Iconic, the latest round was one part smoke, two parts mirrors. Verlinvest chairman Frederic de Mevius was typically ebullient, stating: