Shop vacancy rates have increased marginally for the first time in five months, although they appear to be stabilising below the all-time high.
According to the Local Data Company the vacancy rate increased by just 0.02% to 14.14% in March.
In real terms, the figures mean that there are nearly 22,500 empty shops in the UK’s top 650 town centres - the equivalent of every shop in central London being vacant.
Matthew Hopkinson, director at the Local Data Company, said: “Another stable month for GB shop vacancy is not insignificant in that we have now had six consecutive months that the rate has been below the all-time high of 14.6% in August and September of 2012 [although] we have yet to see the rate go below 14% which was last seen in July 2010.”
He added: “This along with the macroeconomic environment implies that for the time being this is the new norm unless we see significant negative churn from the 67% of units occupied by independents or more large chain failures.”