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Just 20% of high street shops affected by administrations in last five years remain vacant

A new study has shown that just 20% of high street shops affected by administrations over the last five years are still vacant.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Just 20% of high street shops affected by administrations in last five years remain vacant

The research by business advisory firm Deloitte, which analysed Local Data Company data on nearly 5,900 shops, reveals that most of the vacant shops have been taken by discounters and convenience chains. It also shows that high streets are outperforming retail parks and shopping centres, both of which have significantly higher vacancy rates of 37% and 29% for space formerly occupied by retailers which have gone into administration.

Discount stores accounted for nearly one in five of all re-lettings of shops vacated as a result of administrations in the study. Furthermore, shops acquired by such stores accounted for 50% of the expansion in the discount sector since 2008.

Convenience stores have also expanded strongly, accounting for nearly 12% of space acquired post-administration.

Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said: “Historically, retailers have talked about “destination” shopping locations. However, different and more cautious consumer spending patterns have joined forces with a technology-powered convenience culture which demands that goods and services are available as and where the consumer demands.

“Rather than taking shoppers away, the internet is pushing people back to shops with the growth of “click and collect”. The evidence suggests that we may be entering a new era of “en route” shopping, powered by mobile shopping and the demand for collection points strategically located at a point between where the consumer is travelling from and to.”

However, charity shops, pawnbrokers and bookmakers showed limited interest in acquiring the shops in the study. According to the data, just 3% of shops post-administration have been occupied by charity shops and less than 0.01% have been turned into pawnbrokers or bookmakers.

Geddes added: “It is likely that the rate of expansion by bookmakers may not be as aggressive as widely believed, with new openings often offset by closures. The growth in online and mobile gambling would appear to make any substantial long term growth in overall betting shop numbers unlikely.”

Some regions fared better than others with Greater London at the lower end of the scale with an 18% vacancy rate and Scotland at opposite end of the scale with a 37% vacancy rate. However, across the UK the high street was shown to have consistently outperformed retail parks and shopping centres.

Hugo Clark, director at Deloitte and author of the report, said: “The results of this research are surprising and seem to challenge a number of myths around the state of the high street. They would suggest that far from being dead, the high street appears to be showing great resilience and a capacity for reinvention. It seems that a structural shift is taking place with the high street emerging as an unexpected winner.”

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