UK shop vacancy rate drops to five year low
However, the figures released by the Local Data Company also show that the vacancy rate for food, beverage and entertainment outlets increased from 8.13% in August to 8.16% in September, the highest level since LDC began tracking the sector in 2013.
Matthew Hopkinson, director at The Local Data Company, said: “Clearly this is very good news that vacancy rates are at their lowest level for over five years. There are a number of reasons for this and these will vary by specific location but ultimately consumers have more money in their pockets as a result of wages being higher than inflation, employment levels are improving and there is greater focus on the living wage as well as zero hours contracts.”
The figures show that while some business types were reoccupying empty premises, over 400 shops were removed from the overall stock last month as a result of change of use, demolition or redevelopment.
Hopkinson added: “This is good news as shows that structural change requires big decisions and regeneration of places through uses other than shops.”
The town vacancy rate dropped by 0.1% in September while the shopping centre vacancy rate fell by 0.2% to 14.6%. Retail parks also saw a decline in vacancy rate, with a 0.1% fall when compared to the previous month.
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