Market Research Shows More Than 1 in 10 Shops Empty

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19th November 2012 12:21 - Retail

Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) suggest that more than one in ten shops in shopping centres and high streets are currently empty, representing the highest level of unoccupied retail space since the body began collecting data in July 2011. Nationwide, the rate of vacancy in town centres was 11.3%, although this peaked in Northern Ireland where one in five shops were closed. Wales (15.1%) and The North and Yorkshire (14.6%) also demonstrated above average levels of vacancy.  

During the three months to October, footfall fell by 0.4% when compared with the same period a year ago. In August, footfall did increase (for the third time since the research began) and it is thought this was driven by the Olympics. Oddly, footfall in Northern Ireland rose by 14.4%, with the West Midlands (4.2%) and Greater London (1.4%) being the only other regions to demonstrate increased footfall. The East, the South West and Scotland were the regions hit hardest in terms of footfall over the last three months, witnessing a reduction of -4.1%, -4.0% and -3.9% respectively.

Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: "This new high in empty shop numbers really sets alarm bells ringing. It's the worst vacancy rate since the survey began in July 2011 and confirms that financial challenges for both customers and retailers are far from over."

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