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March shop vacancies best for five years

Published: 8 April 2015
The Local Data Company (LDC) says March's shop vacancy figures are a "cause for celebration", as they fell back to 2010 levels.
March shop vacancies best for five years
The number of empty shops slipped to 13.0%, from 13.1% the previous month.

The overall retail and leisure vacancy rate has also fallen slightly to 11.6% from 11.7% in February.

Matthew Hopkinson, director at LDC, which monitors shops in over 2,700 towns and cities commented: "These numbers are encouraging and reflect the wider positive news on consumer sentiment and spend. These numbers were last seen back in 2010 so it is a cause for celebration!"

But he also warned: "Recent closure news from B&Q and Morrisons show that these numbers can very easily change in the opposite direction. Whilst these numbers show more shops opening, we're also seeing structural change where shops are changing use to alternative uses, and March saw the largest number of demolished properties at 95 (40 in February).

"Whilst one should not underestimate the challenges retailers face with price deflation and a very savvy consumer we're continuing to see the growth of food and beverage outlets on our high streets, which will occupy vacant shops when planning allows."

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