High Street

Shop vacancies fall for third quarter in a row

All locations saw improvements in vacancy rates in Q2

In the second quarter of 2022, the overall GB vacancy rate decreased to 14.0%, which was 0.1 percentage points better than Q1 and 0.5 percentage points better than the same period last year, according to the BRC.

This was the third consecutive quarter of falling vacancy rates.

All locations saw improvements in vacancy rates in Q2: Shopping centre vacancies fell to 18.9%, down from 19.0% in Q1 2022, high street vacancies decreased to 14.0% in Q2, which was an improvement on 14.1% in Q1, and Retail Park vacancies decreased to 10.2% in Q2, a 0.4 percentage point improvement from Q1 2022.

Geographically, London, South East and East of England had the lowest vacancy rates. The highest rates were in the North East, followed by Wales and Scotland.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Vacancy rates tend to lag behind other metrics in responding to economic changes, meaning that the vacancy rate is likely to improve further – slowly returning towards pre-pandemic levels. However, Government policy also has a big impact on the viability of shops.

“A 2021 BRC survey showed that unless the burden of business rates is brought down, more than 80% of retailers said they were ‘likely’ or ‘certain’ to have to close shops. The recent consultation on the design of the Transitional Relief scheme – a flawed system within business rates that could cost retailers over £1 billion in three years – is an opportunity for the next Prime Minister to make meaningful change for retail locations and the local communities they support.”

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