Empty shops to reach record levels

The worsening conditions on the UK High Street could lead to a record number of vacant retail outlets by the end of the year, analyst Experian has predicted.

Ongoing retail administrations, disposals and rationalisations are expected to see the vacancy rate climb from its current seven per cent to ten per cent by the end of February, leaving one in ten shops (approximately 90,000) deserted.

Worse still, Experian believes that this figure could rise to as high as 15 per cent by the end of the year, leading to 135,000 empty stores.

The unprecedented level of retail vacancy will be disproportionately spread across Britain, so that smaller retail destinations, in particular market towns across Britain, will be worse affected,” Experian’s director of retail consultancy Jonathan de Mello stated.

The loss of major multiples such as Woolworths will leave a significant gap in these towns and is likely to have a knock on effect with other retailers. The large scale retail business failure is also expected to have a significant impact on high street returns, affecting investors’ yields on rents as well as rates and other income sources collected by local authorities.”

Source: Retail Week

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