Britain’s shop vacancy fell to 13.0% in March from a rate of 13.1% in February, according to figures from the Local Data Company (LDC). The overall retail and leisure vacancy rate has also fallen slightly to 11.6% from 11.7% in February.
Analysis of vacancy rates by occupation type shows that shop vacancy in March was 13.0% (-0.1%), Leisure vacancy was 8.3% (0.0%), and All (Retail & Leisure) vacancy rate was 11.6%(-0.1%).
LDC director Matthew Hopkinson commented: “These numbers are encouraging and reflect the wider positive news on consumer sentiment and spend. These numbers were last seen back in 2010 so it’s a cause for celebration!
“Recent closure news from B&Q and Morrisons show that these numbers can very easily change in the opposite direction. While these numbers show more shops opening, we’re also seeing structural change where shops are changing use to alternative uses and March saw the largest number of demolished properties at 95 (40 in February).”
He added: “While one should not underestimate the challenges retailers face with price deflation and a very savvy consumer, we’re continuing to see the growth of food and beverage outlets on our high streets which will occupy vacant shops when planning allows.”