Retailers have been dealt a double blow in October as fewer people visited the high street and the number of empty shops increased.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard said the vacancy rate in UK town centres rose to 10.3% in October, an increase from July’s rate of 10.1% and the first rise since 2013.
Footfall increased by one percentage point in October compared to the previous month, but was still 0.8% lower than the same time in 2013.
Shopping centres were worst affected, down 1.9%, while high street shopper numbers fell by 1.4%. However retail parks enjoyed a 1.9% rise in footfall.
Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s retail insights director, said the rise in vacancy rates was caused by retailers closing loss-making stores. “We need to become accustomed to an increasing vacancy rate over the next year as this accelerates,” she added.