A sudden increase in vacancies at shopping centres means that now about 12% of all British stores are empty according to a survey conducted by the BRC (British Retail Consortium) and Springboard. Empty shops make up a total of 12% of all retail space in the country now. Failures on behalf of Jessops and Comet are blamed for some of the holes in retail parks and knock holes.
In January the rate of vacancies was only 11% showing a marked increase in just a few months and this is the highest vacancy rate that has been detected yet. High streets are said to be outperforming retail parks and malls helped out by a five percent increase in the amount of people that head out to the club diners, and pubs located nearby.
The retail sector has been hit by many failures this year as large industry chains such as Jessops and HMV entering administration at the start of the year. Comet fell into administration just a few months prior in November.
Helen Dickinson, the BRC director general stated that it is a large concern that the vacancy rate has jumped up so quickly and is continuing to increase everywhere in the UK. Dickinson added that some regions in the South West are seeing the number of empty shops increase at an even higher rate.
Last year higher temperatures during the spring months helped to increase footfall and the same appeared to be the same this year as footfall in the high street increased by 3.4% even though shopping centre footfall fell by about three percent. Greater London was the strongest performer with footfall increasing by over 4% with an overall vacancy rate of the much lower 7% compared to the rest of England.