Store vacancy rates continue to rise

The number of vacant stores in the UK has risen in the past five years – vacancy rates peaked to 13 per cent in the first half of 2019.

This figure is up six per cent year on year, according to new research from the Local Data Company (LDC), which is the highest it has been since August 2015, as established retailers fight to survive on the high streets.

The store closures are mainly down to increased business rates and declined footfall, with one in 10 standing empty.

Increased online sales has also led to the decline in footfall, as bricks-and-mortar firms continue to put pressure on landlords.

Estate agent, Colliers, commented that this year the retail sector is expected to foot a £7.6 billion business rates bill.

“Legacy brands are being forced to radically overhaul their operations while newer entrants take advantage of the available space and the opportunity to capture spend from progressively less loyal consumers,” LDC Head of Retail, Lucy Stainton, said.

In the UK in recent years, we have lost several big high street retailers, including Toys R Us and Maplin.

Only in February this year, hi-fi and audio-visual retailer, Superfi, closed down.