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And footfall is down too

Shop vacancies reach a new high

The national vacancy rate in town centres reached 11.3 per cent last month, with Northern Ireland, Wales, Yorkshire and the North hit hardest.

According to the BRC’s figures, one in five Northern Irish shops now sit vacant, in Wales the figure is 15.1 per cent while in the North and Yorkshire, the figure is 14.6 per cent.

These figures are the highest recorded since these rates were first recorded in July last year.

Meanwhile High Street footfall was down as well. August has been the only month to see a rise this year, which is attributed to the Olympics.

“This new high in empty shop numbers really sets alarm bells ringing. It’s the worst vacancy rate since the survey began in July 2011 and confirms that financial challenges for both customers and retailers are far from over,” said the BRC’s director general, Stephen Robertson.

??“Many retailers are battling stagnating sales and rising costs, and next year’s threatened business rates increase can only make matters worse. If the Government wants to breathe life back into our town centres and ensure the retail industry can play its full role in job creation it needs to freeze rates in 2013.”

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