Shopping centres fill store vacancies faster than high street

Wednesday, 10 September 2014
The ailing British high street has been stood up by shopping malls and new developments, where vacant shop fronts are filled faster than those on our regional streets. The data comes from the British Council of Shopping Centres and shows there is considerable variation by  location.

England's shopping centre show marginal improvement

Figures from the BCSC/LDC UK Shopping Centre Vacancy Monitor show a year-on-year improvement in the vacancy rate of 0.8 percent on a national basis, but Welsh shopping centres are running well ahead of that with a 5.2 percent improvement on last year. Scotland’s centres are 2.2 percent better off, while England’s shopping centres have only managed a 0.5 percent improvement year-on-year.

Within England, the South East is performing best with a 3.7 percent reduction in empty shops, while the North East and North West show 4.4 and 2.5 percent increases, respectively. London has improved by only 0.6 percent.

“It is positive to see shopping centres reducing the numbers of empty shops and doing so at a faster rate than the towns in which they sit,” said Michael Green, BCSC chief executive. “As they are managed as single entities, with management strategies to match, they are well-placed to adapt to changing retail dynamics. It is clear that these changes will result in a need for an increasingly diverse mix of businesses, particularly as a number of traditional retailers look to consolidate the amount of physical space from which they trade.

“Contrary to popular opinion, independent retailers now account for one out of every two shops in British shopping centres. We expect this to increase over the next six months as more and more shopping centre owners look to vary what they are offering to their shoppers,” he said.

Image: High street