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Shop vacancies increase as retailers scout our prime locations

By Vivian Hendriksz


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London - The number of shop vacancies continues to increase across the UK as a growing number of retailers prioritize prime retail location. New data indicates that the number of stores which have been empty for more than two years has increased 20 percent, according to commercial property consultancy Colliers International.

The increase in shop vacancies has been linked to UK retailers decision to put "prime" retail locations first, as the rise of online shopping continues to impact their need for additional secondary locations. Research shows that prime shop vacancies are down 0.2 percent, the first nationwide improvement since 2014.

However rent for prime retail locations has increased by 1.8 percent in the year to the end of April, which is the largest increase reported since 2008. "The proportion of the 420 locations we monitor which saw rents fall more than doubled, while the volume of shops that have been vacant for more than a year increased by 20 percent," said Mark Phillipson, Colliers International’s head of UK retail.

"Both these measures had been previously improving during the past two years, and this reverse signals a step-change which is widening the gulf between the best and the rest." Paul Souber, Colliers’ head of central London retail noted that although London remains a powerhouse for shopping and retail, with rents for prime location increasing 3 percent, the market is cooling down.

The consultancy predicts rent prices in London to remain flat over the next year. "The more positive news is that the capital is still creating new flourishing pitches," said Souber. "The shopping offer on Tottenham Court Road is being transformed and we’ve seen top rents on the street increase by 7.5 percent - more than double the London average."

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