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Shop vacancy rate falls for the first time in three months

Shop vacancy rates dropped by a marginal 0.1% to 14.5% in May, according to figures from the Local Data Company.

The slight improvement marks the first increase in vacancy rates since February.

Matthew Hopkinson, director of the Local Data Company, said: “This is an encouraging improvement in shop vacancy rates nationally albeit a small one.

“The good news is that the shops vacancy rates has stabilised within the 14-14.6% range since August 2010 whilst prior to this we recorded a threefold increase.”

Hopkinson added that he believes the number of empty shops in the UK appears to have peaked and that now is the time to take positive action to address the 23,406 empty shops that lie empty in the UK’s 650 town centres along with a similar number outside these town centres.

Vacant units, according to the report, are classified as those units, which did not possess a trading business at that location on the day it was visited by the Local Data Company.

The shop vacancy index is based on the shop vacancy rates of the top 650 town centres in the UK.

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