Posted 17th May

Retail vacancies hit highest rate in four years

17th May 2019 - 07:00am
money matters, brc, british retail consortium, springboard, footfall, uk, retail, shopping, high street, retail park, shopping centre, kitchen, bathroom, kbb, kbbdaily, ekbbusiness

The national town centre vacancy rate reached 10.2% in April, making it the highest vacancy rate since April 2015, according to the latest British Retail Consortium – BRC – Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor.

Footfall declined by 0.5% last month, a marked uplift compared with the 3.3% drop experienced in April 2018. High street footfall dropped by 1%, while retail parks saw a 2.2% increase. Shopping centres saw a decline in footfall of 2.1%.

“With regular reports of shop closures, it may come as no surprise that town centre vacancy rates rose to their highest level in four years,” said BRC CEO Helen Dickinson. “Empty shopfronts, particularly for larger stores, can deter shoppers from an area, decreasing footfall for all those around.

“This effect can be cyclical, with the long-term decline in footfall pushing up vacancy rates, particularly in poorer areas. Furthermore, the cumulative impact of Government policy costs – from spiralling business rates to the Apprenticeship Levy and more – have also made physical space less cost effective.”

“For many retailers, business rates remain the single biggest tax imposed by Government. They are a levy on physical space that is paid in full regardless of whether a firm is in profit or in loss. Importantly, they are also borne disproportionately by retailers who represent 5% of the economy yet pay 25% of all business rates.”


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