Empty shop figures reveal North-South divide

Slowdown in High Street retail vacancy increase recorded, but less so in the North
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The increase in the number of retail vacancies in Great Britain is slowing, but the North is fairing worse than the South, according to research from The Local Data Company.

Town centre vacancy rates have risen from just over 12 per cent at the end of 2009, to 13 per cent at the end of June 2010. While stores in London and the South East are holding up comparatively well, large northern and Midland cities are suffering more retail closures.

The report goes on to assert that the public sector cuts will exacerbate the increase in vacancies, and combined with the VAT rise in January will cause a double blow for the big retail centers in the North and Midlands particularly.

It's not all doom and gloom, though. In the South, vacancy rates are less worrying – with centers such as Bath, Guildford and Henley on Thames continuing to improve. Central London continues to be strong and Wales has also seen falling vacancy in Cardiff and Swansea.

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