High Street losing shops

More than one out of ten High Street shops are vacant, a new survey has shown.

The footfall and vacancies monitor from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) for the three months from May to July revealed that the national town centre vacancy rate in the UK was 11.2 per cent in May.

The survey noted that overall footfall for the period (the number of shoppers visiting) was 1 per cent lower than the same period a year earlier.

Falling shopper numbers in the UK were driven by a 1.9 per cent decline in people visiting out-of-town complexes. The number of people entering shopping centres rose by 0.6%.

Over the last 12 months high streets on average have seen the highest drop in footfall of 2.6 per cent, the BRC said.

Stephen Robertson, the BRC’s director general, commented: “In July, all types of shopping locations saw reduced footfall year-on-year and that was before the effect of this month’s disturbances in England.

“Fewer people are shopping because households are facing high inflation, low wage growth and uncertainty about future job prospects. But that’s slightly offset by hard-up customers spreading their spending over more but less costly shopping trips. For the quarter, the one per cent drop in shopper numbers compared with this time last year is not great but is actually an improvement on the 1.3 per cent fall over the twelve months before that.”