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UK shopping centre vacancy rate drops for third quarter in a row
New figures have shown that vacancy rates across UK shopping centres dropped for the third consecutive quarter at the end of last year.
The data from British Council of Shopping Centres has revealed a 0.8% year-on-year fall in vacancies for the final and busiest trading quarter of 2015. This follows a decline of 0.8% in the previous quarter and a 1.4% drop in the second quarter of the year.
The proportion of multiple retailers in shopping centres increased by 1.5% while there was a 1.5% fall in independents.
Matthew Hopkinson, director of The Local Data Company, said: "The latest LDC/BCSC shopping centre index numbers show a positive outlook for shopping centres in one of the most important quarters for retailers in the year. The number of quality shopping centres has grown as a result of investment and strong retailer demand off the back of low inflation and improving consumer confidence. Also of note is the continued growth of food and beverage outlets outside of the top 30 shopping centres where saturation appears to have been reached."
Looking at the regions, shopping centres in Yorkshire and The Humber and West Midlands saw the largest falls in vacancy rates, recording 1.6% and 1.5% drops respectively.
Meanwhile, there was a 0.9% decline in vacancy rates in England and a 1.1% fall in Scotland. There was no change in the vacancy recorded for Welsh shopping centres.
There was a drop in the total units recorded amongst the largest shopping centres in fourth quarter of 2015 compared with the third quarter.
Edward Cooke, director of policy and public affairs at BCSC, added: “The drop in the overall number of units across UK shopping centres is evidence of the retail property industry adapting to the changing needs of occupiers. By proactive asset management and merging units, landlords are able to provide the larger spaces required by the multiple chains and attract big brands to shopping centres.”