Britain’s vacancy rate fell in August to 13.3% from 13.4% in July. This is its lowest level since June 2010. The overall retail and leisure vacancy rate also decreased from 11.9% to 11.8%. Analysis of vacancy rates by occupation type shows that Shop vacancy in August was 13.3% (-0.1%), Leisure vacancy was 7.7% (+0.05), and All (Retail & Leisure) vacancy rate was 11.8% (-0.1%).
The drop in vacancy rates to pre June 2010 levels is significant and reflects the changes taking place in Britain’s town centres in response to the challenges thrown at them since 2009. This improvement equates to over 400 new businesses opening in August. It also reflects an increase in demolished and properties under development which may be as a result of change in use or reconfiguration of existing retail space.
The leisure vacancy rate, however, has shown an increase of 0.05% which is surprising in some ways but not all as it is an increasingly saturated market with significant growth coming from the multiples.
Our 10th Retail Summit on 16th September will look at detail into where and why we are seeing positive changes in some locations but will also highlight those areas that have continued to weaken during the year.