Monthly shop vacancy rates rose to an all time high of 14.6% (+0.1%) in February 2012, according to the Local Data Company’s monthly barometer.
It is the highest figure recorded since LDC began its index in 2008.
Town centre vacancy rates in Great Britain stabilised at 14.3% during the second half of 2011 but then rose to 14.5% in January 2012 before showing a further increase to 14.6% last month.
Matthew Hopkinson, director at the Local Data Company, said: “The latest increase is not unexpected as post-Christmas occupancy levels drop and retailer failures continue with Game Group, with 600 shops, the latest. It is a timely reminder to the Government, who are due to respond to the Portas Review this month, of the significant challenges facing town and city centres up and down the country.
LDC said it will shortly release a proposal on how Government can tackle this through a ‘town tool kit’ that empowers all the key stakeholders (‘town teams’) to be informed on the key insights of a town – occupancy, vacancy, footfall and consumer needs. The fact none of these are aligned or indeed understood in most towns means the chances of planning for success are significantly reduced.”