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Shop vacancies rose to 14.5% in 2010

Published: 15 February 2011
A rise in shop vacancy rates "demonstrates the need for a retail-friendly Budget in March", the British Retail Consortium has said today.
Shop vacancies rose to 14.5% in 2010
New figures from The Local Data Company show shop vacancy rates climbed to 14.5% at the end of last year compared with 12% at the end of 2009.

As part of its ongoing campaign, 21st Century High Streets, the BRC is calling for reform of the business rates system, as retailers face a 4.6% increase in rates this April on top of the impact of the five-yearly revaluation last April.

BRC director of business and regulation Tom Ironside said: "The fragile state of the economy is compounding difficulties many of our town centres have been facing for some time. Economic recovery alone will not be enough to ensure they bounce back.

"Town centres need to be actively planned, managed and invested in. Key issues, including the costs of doing business, parking access and crime, need to be addressed. The soaring number of empty shops shows how important a retail-friendly Budget is. Next month, the Chancellor has a crucial opportunity to help high streets by easing existing cost pressure and resisting the temptation to impose new ones."

The Local Data Company figures also showed the North/South divide in shop vacancy is "large and growing". Of the top 20 large retail centres ranked by vacancy, two thirds are in the North and a further 30% are in the Midlands.

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