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Vacancy rates remain stable

Vacancy rates remained stable in the first half of the year, demonstrating that although there has been no increase the rate continues to be “stubbornly high”.

According to the Local Data Company (LDC), one in seven shops lie empty across Great Britain. There has been little change over the last year, with the level of empty stores remaining at 14.1%, compared to 14.2% in 2012. The number of vacant shops in the top 650 town centres was 22,339 during the period.

Despite one in seven stores remaining vacant a further 403 shop units have been added during the first half of 2013.

Small towns with fewer than 200 stores are in the healthiest state with an average vacancy rate of just 9.2%. Retail parks have had the most significant decline over the last six months, with a 0.8% rise in the number of vacant units, however their rate still remains fairly low at 9.6%. Shopping centres are suffering the most with an average of 16.1%, an all-time high.

Scotland and Wales have both shown an improvement in shop vacancy rates with levels decreasing by 0.6% and 0.5% respectively. However rates in England worsened by 0.1%.

LDC director Matthew Hopkinson said: “This report clearly shows that whilst the rise of empty shops has stalled it still remains stubbornly high for many towns up and down the country. Since August 2010 the national average has been above 14%, with a significant number being ‘long term sick’ with little or no prospect of reoccupation as shops.”

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