ALMOST a quarter of GB’s retail estate remains empty, according to the most recent research from the Local Data Company.
In March, vacancy rates stood at 13.6% for the second month running. In March 2013 the figure was 14.1%, so there has been a year-on-year improvement of 0.5%.
Matthew Hopkinson, director at the Local Data Company, commented: “We are still seeing the drawdown of the major chain retailers in some towns but these are being replaced by independents or fast-expanding new chains, especially in the leisure sector.
“There will always be demand for the right shop in the right location, especially in those locations where rents have become more affordable.”
He continued: “There are 51,589 vacant units across Great Britain. Some, but certainly not all, will be filled on the back of rising consumer confidence. The locations that will benefit will be those with improving local economies and prospects.
“What is clear is that the new consumer values bricks and mortar. Shops have a healthy future as a key channel for retailing and we will not all be confined to ‘sofa shopping’ in the months and years ahead.”