Empty shop numbers fall but concerns remain amid dropping consumer confidence

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He said the number of vacant stores continued to decline but remained above pre-pandemic levels, amid fears that a fall in consumer confidence would test the fragile recovery.

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The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Local Data Company (LDC) reported that the overall vacancy rate across the UK fell to 13.9% in the third quarter, 0.1 percentage points better than the previous quarter and 0.6 compared to the same period last year. Percentage marks is better. ,

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This is the fourth consecutive quarter of declining vacancy rates.

Shopping center vacancies fell from 18.9% in the second quarter to 18.8%, while high street vacancies decreased from 14% to 13.9%.

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Vacant stores made up 9.7% of retail park outlets, while London, the South East and the East of England had the lowest vacancy rates.

The highest rates were in the North East, followed by Wales and the West Midlands.

BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said: “Operation costs remain high in many towns and cities and demand will be tested by a weak economy and declining consumer confidence in the lead-up to Christmas.

“High costs are already driving up prices and the industry is facing an additional £800 million trade rates bill from April 2023. This may prompt many retailers to consider investing in new stores or closing existing ones. Will force you to take tough decisions.

“The government should stabilize trade rates and repair the broken transitional relief system. This will support investment in communities across the country and help keep prices low for consumers.

Lucy Stanton, commercial director of the local data company, said: “Independent businesses in particular have continued to flourish as consumers remain loyal to their local high streets.

“However, we cannot ignore the economic pressures to come as consumers face the winter of increased caution and less disposable income. We are about to face a new round of trials as the market begins to gain its footing – but perhaps the lessons learned during the pandemic will help chains and independents weather the storm to come.

“The latest Great Britain figures are encouraging, but should still be viewed with genuine caution, and we anticipate that this growth in occupancy may slow as retail and hospitality businesses grapple with a tough winter.”

Credit: www.standard.co.uk /

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