Vacant Shops Figures Highlight Ongoing Retail Sector Problems

BRC Research Reveals High Street Trends


New figures on the growing number vacant shops on high streets across the UK highlight the continuing problems impact on the retail sector, an insolvency expert at Irwin Mitchell has highlighted.

Research by the British Retail Consortium revealed that an average vacancy rate of 11.2 per cent was recorded in the UK at the end of May, with footfall in July also being around one per cent lower than 12 months earlier.

Northern Ireland was found to have the highest vacancy rate, with Wales and the north of England following closely behind.

Insolvency specialists at Irwin Mitchell have advised a number of retail businesses as they have restructured to meet the difficult economic conditions impacting on them.

Andrew Walker, a Partner in the Leeds-based insolvency team and chair of trade body R3 in Yorkshire, said: “The BRC figures only serve to highlight how accurate the forecasts and findings in other recent studies have been.

“There is a growing body of evidence available which shows that retailers are facing increasing difficulties due to a variety of factors, from pressures on consumer spending to rising commodity prices hitting business costs.

“High-profile names have also been affected by these issues and it is unfortunately likely that the current conditions will continue to impact on many companies for some months to come – particularly as even further pressure is likely to hit a number of retailers with the next rent quarter day approaching next month.”