Seven out of 10 Woolworths stores are still empty six months after the chain collapsed, as landlords struggle to fill the space.
According to The Times the figures highlight the troubled state of the retail property market and will heighten fears about the decline of the high street as discount stores replace mainstream retailers.
A survey for the newspaper by the Local Data Company showed that retailers including Iceland, Bargain Madness, 99p Stores and Poundland, among other businesses, have taken some of the former units of Woolworths, which had around 800 shops.
While more than half the Woolworths stores in Greater London have been let, 80% of sites in Scotland, and 90% of those in th North East are still empty.
Landlords have been forced to offer reduced rents and incentive packages to let the shops, causing a drop in high street rents across the board.
Rob Alston, retail partner at property firm Cushman & Wakefield, told the newspaper: “The fact that only about 20% of the Woolworths stores have been sold by the administrators says a lot about the current retail demand, and while a substantial number of other units have either been let or are currently under offer via the landlords, there is still a huge hole in many towns in the UK.”