The shop vacancy rate across Great Britain dropped below 14% in December for the first time since July 2010.
The rate fell to 13.9% last month, down from 14.1% in November 2013 according to figures from the Local Data Company (LDC).
LDC director Matthew Hopkinson said the drop was “very significant” and reflects the more positive outlook seen over the last few months.
Hopkinson added: “Adminstrations were down in 2013 and those that occurred did not have the store numbers that we saw back in 2009 when Woolworths closed over 800 shops. Landlords are more flexible in terms of lease lengths, which has led to the ‘Pop Up Shop’ phenomenon.
“December’s drop in the shop vacancy rate is a significant step in what one hopes is the final stages in the significant rebalancing of our town centres to meet the needs of the modern consumer. Change will continue and what is of interest is which towns are showing this improvement, as not all are and in some cases terminal decline is still very evident.”