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Vacancy rates stabilise over nine months

Vacancy rates remained unchanged during October - although experts warn that the recent administration of retailers such as Barratts could see it rise over the coming months.

According to the Local Data Company (LDC) the shop vacancy rate remained at 14.1% last month.

Across the top 650 town centres in Great Britain shop vacancy rates stayed stable for the ninth month in a row with around 22,462 shop units empty.

Matthew Hopkinson, director at the LDC, said: “This stability cannot be taken for granted as the recent administrations of Barratts and Blockbuster shows. If their shops are not taken up then this has the potential to add more than 300 more vacant shops to the total, which is likely to cause the overall rate to rise to 14.2%, which was last seen in January of this year.”

He added: “The difference between the shop vacancy rate (14.1%) and the leisure vacancy rate (7.4%) shows how in many towns we have too many shops but also that it should not just be a case of changing their use to leisure as whilst it is the fastest growing sector our data shows that there are over 4,000 of these units vacant.

“The reality is that it is not about the overall numbers but the detail on the ground in each town which comes back to the age old property saying of location, location, location.”                                                                                                          

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