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UK shop vacancy rates return to record high

Shop vacancy rates in the UK have returned to a record high increasing to 14.6 per cent in June, according to figures released today (August 2nd).

While the rise means that the number of empty shops in the top 650 town centres now exceeds 23,000, the Local Data Company (LDC) which published the report noted that the monthly increase was remote at just 0.05 per cent.

Matthew Hopkinson, Director at the LDC, argued: “June’s rise in shop vacancy should NOT be considered as a negative change in light of the change being a mere 0.05%!

“It shows stability in unstable times but the national figure hides the regional and local variances which are significant and will be revealed in our next bi-annual shop vacancy report.”

Although last month vacancy rates saw an improvement of 0.1 per cent, this latest change sees the rate return to its highest level as seen since February this year.

Visiting over 2,700 towns and cities, retail parks and shopping centres, the LDC’s monthly report highlights the speed of change within the retail industry and the fragility of the UK market.

As the London Olympics continue, it is hoped that footfall and sales across the country will improve, although much of the capital, including the West End, has reported quiet high streets as shoppers avoid supposed hotspots.

Hopkinson points out that summer events may in fact heighten pressure on struggling retailers.

“Recent weak reports on the economy and retail sales figures show that the pressure remains on shops up and down the country,” he said.

“Whilst the Olympics will bring a boost for London and the South East, as the recent census results did in population numbers, the same cannot be said for other parts of the country.”

Source : Gemma Taylor – Retail Gazette

02 August 2012
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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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