Although the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has welcomed the latest shop vacancy rate figures – revealng that vacancies have decreased in the last quarter – the Association, whose members include many gift retailers, warns that consumer confidence is still at an all time low, with the cost of living crisis yet to hit.
The report, released this week by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Local Data Company, highlights that:
- In the third quarter of 2022, the overall GB vacancy rate decreased to 13.9%,which was 0.1 percentage points better than Q2 and 0.6 percentage points better than the same period last year. This was the fourth consecutive quarter of falling vacancy rates.
- Shopping centre vacancies fell to 18.8%, down from 18.9% in Q2 2022.
- High street vacancies decreased to 13.9% in Q3, which was an improvement on 14.0% in Q2.
- Retail park vacancies decreased to 9.7% in Q3, a 0.5 percentage point improvement from Q2 2022. Also, it remains the retail location with by far the lowest vacancy rate.
Commenting, Bira’s ceo Andrew Goodacre highlighted: “it’s always good to see vacancy rates falling, as none of us want to see empty buildings on a high street. However, while this is positive news, we should be mindful of reading too much into it given the current pressures.”
He explained: “consumer confidence is still at an all time low, just as we are in the middle of the most important trading quarter for retail. The full impact of the cost of living crisis has not yet been felt, and the Chancellor should bear this in mind when he makes his Autumn statement on the 17 November.”
Andrew added: “we are still very concerned by reduced consumer spending, high energy costs and the potential for business rates to be increased next year. Vacancy rates are still higher than pre Covid, so the high street needs constructive support.”
The full report can be downloaded here.
Top: Shop vacancies are down for the fourth consecutive quarter.