Shop vacancies in Britain’s high streets and retail parks are still holding steady – but fewer shops are closing.
The vacancy rate dropped by 0.1% to 13.2% in December, while the overall retail and leisure vacancy rate has remained at 11.8%.
Analysis of vacancy rates by occupation type shows that leisure vacancy was 7.8% (0.0%), and All (Retail & Leisure) vacancy rate was 11.8%(0.0%).
Matthew Hopkinson, director at The Local Data Company, which prepares the monthly index said: “December’s vacancy figures, whilst showing a marginal decline in empty shops, are not showing any significant movement.
“The decline in the shop vacancy rate is as a result of temporary lets and pop up shops during the Christmas period. The acid test will be to see how these numbers adjust in January and the impact of the administrations and closures of Bank and USC let alone the supermarket closures, to name one, that have been announced for 2015.
“A promising year lies ahead in that 2014 showed the symbiotic relationship between bricks and clicks, and that physical shopping and collection is alive and well. With low inflation and an uptick in wage growth then 2015 has the potential to see the vacancy rate fall further from its peak of 14.6% in 2012.”
However, the Experian Footfall Index – which counts shoppers visiting high streets and retail parks – shows the number of shoppers is falling – down 13.2% week-on-week and 2.5% in the past year.
The Year-to-Date trend was 0.2% up compared to the previous week. However, the figure recorded is worse than last year, when footfall was down1.8% at the same time.
The Experian FootFall Regional Index shows that only one region improved year-on-year retail traffic. London returned the greatest week-on-week increase of 1.6%, which was still 1.5% down on the year.
The East saw a massive week-on-week decrease of 34.5%.