The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) has welcomed the latest shop vacancy rate figures which have shown they have decreased in the last quarter.However the group, which supports over 6,000 independent stores throughout Britain, has warned that consumer confidence is still at an all time low and the cost of living crisis is yet to hit. In the third quarter of 2022, the overall GB vacancy rate decreased to 13.9 per cent, 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, highlighted the report released this week by the British Retail Consortium and Local Data Company.
Shopping Centre vacancies fell to 18.8 per cent, down from 18.9 per cent in Q2 2022 while High Street vacancies decreased to 13.9 per cent in Q3, which was an improvement on 14.0 per cent in Q2.
Retail Park vacancies decreased to 9.7 per cent in Q3, a 0.5 percentage point improvement from Q2 2022. Also, it remains the retail location with by far the lowest vacancy rate.
Andrew Goodacre, CEO of BIRA said, “It is always good to see vacancy rates falling as none of us want to see empty buildings on a high street. Whilst this is positive news, we should be mindful of reading too much into it given the current pressures.“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 been felt yet and the Chancellor should bear this in mind when he makes his Autumn statement on the 17th November.” “We are still very concerned by the 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 and so the high street needs constructive support,” he added.