Shops vacant as customers drift away
The vacancy rate for shops across Britain’s High Streets and shopping centres stands at over 11%, according to new research from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
Northern Ireland (17.1%), Wales (13.4%) and the North and Yorkshire (13.1%) recorded the highest vacancy rates, as overall footfall between May and July 2011 fell 1% compared with a year earlier.
In terms of footfall, the hardest hit locations were Wales (-9.2%), the West Midlands (-6.6%) and the East of England (-6.2%); the only locations to see shopper numbers rise were Greater London (+1.6%), the South West (+0.4%) and Scotland (+0.2%).
Falling numbers were driven by a 1.9% decline in people visiting out-of-town complexes, although over the last 12 months High Streets have seen the highest drop in footfall, at 2.6%.
BRC director general, Stephen Robertson, comments: “Fewer people are shopping because households are facing high inflation, low wage growth and uncertainty about future job prospects.”
He adds: “But that’s slightly offset by hard-up customers spreading their spending over more but less costly shopping trips.”