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Shop Vacancies Lowest Since 2009

Shop vacancies in Britain have fallen to their lowest level since December 2009, say the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) and the Local Data Company (LDC).

The vacancy rate is now 12.4%, that’s a 0.6% decrease from April last year and the study showed that despite over 4,600 shops opening in 2015, there were over 5,000 that shut down, while just short of 500 units became unused last year.

The number of shops closing down adds to the thousands that have suffered the same fate over the last five years.

A fall in the amount of units being vacant (a fall of 16% from April last year), alongside a removal of more units than usual (76% in comparison to April last year), has resulted in the change.

Orbis, an expert in vacant property management, has warned that an increase in shops closing compared to ones opening for the fifth year in a row is a massive issue for property managers.

CEO at Orbis, Guy Other, said that the creation of hundreds more empty units over the last year is something that needs addressing sooner rather than later. However he did agree that the fall in the number of shops closing down is positive news.

He said vacant units can become too expensive to reopen if they are not correctly managed or secured, with many becoming unfit for purpose, vandalised and a general community eyesore.

The study also revealed that further shop closures are to be announced on top of those that have already shut down.

Orbis also warned that if further units become void over the next number of years, there will need to be a management and security fix in place in order to make sure high street units remain prosperous in the long term.

Meanwhile, the LDC data also showed that there has been a rise in the number of independent retailers.

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024