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Retail vacancy rate remains stable in July

The retail vacancy rate was stable at 13% in July, as retail parks continued to show a slight improvement in occupancy while shopping centres showed a marginal increase in vacancies.

New research from the Local Data Company found that the biggest jump was 0.1% in the Northeast. There was a fall of 0.1% in Wales between June and July, while the rest remained static.

Retail vacancies fell by 0.2% in July to 6.6% across the UK, with Yorkshire and the Humber witnessing the biggest drop at 0.7%.

The shopping centre vacancy rate increased by 0.1% to 14.9% across the UK, according to the latest report.

Matthew Hopkinson, director of the Local Data Company, said: “Another month of no significant change in the national vacancy rates, but the devil is in the detail with retail parks continuing to show improving occupancy levels and shopping centres showing a marginal increase in vacancy.

“Brighton and Hove saw the biggest drop in vacant units in July at -35 with Baldock in the East of England seeing a 58% drop in its vacant units. This shows that a number of towns are improving their occupancy rates, but high levels of openings and closures mean that this is not always for the long term. The number of openings and closures in July was in excess of 1,200, which is above the rolling average.

“At the opposite end of the spectrum, Cottingham saw a 54% rise in the number of vacant units and Eastbourne has seen an increase of 55 vacant units, from 168 to 223 vacant units (32.3% rise).”

He added: “So while the top line is stable, there is considerable variance in performance by town, shopping centre and retail park with high streets stable, retail parks improving and shopping centres showing a marginal rise in vacant units.”


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