The number of vacant shops in Britain has continued to fall in November to 12.7% – the lowest level since February 2010.
That is according to the latest data from the Local Data Company (LDC) which found the overall vacancy rate (retail and leisure) was down 0.3% when compared with November 2014. The report said that the vacancy rates reflect the “improving” economy.
This was the fourth successive month that there has been a reported fall in vacancy, which is the first time since September 2013.
Compared with November 2013, the overall vacancy rate was down 0.8% showing that, although the rate was down this year, the rate of change is slowing down as things begin to stabilise.
In terms of retail, the shop vacancy rate fell by 0.6% year-on-year, dropping from 13.3% to 12.7% in November 2015. This was a smaller drop than in the previous period (2013 to 2014), which dropped by 0.8% from a 14.1% shop vacancy rate in 2013.
Falls in vacancy are expected to continue, as vacancy rates get closer to the pre-recession levels, which witnessed single-digit shop vacancy rates.
Matthew Hopkinson, director at LDC, said: “The number of empty shops on Britain’s high streets continues to fall. The big question is – is it because more businesses opened in November that in previous months or are the vacant shops being turned into alternative uses, redeveloped or indeed demolished? The answer lies in all of these factors.
“Bracknell, Exeter and Wrexham have all seen the number of empty shops reduce. The pre-Christmas trading window saw an above-average rise in previously empty shops being reoccupied across the centres visited.
“November also saw the highest number of shops being demolished or redeveloped in 2015.”