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Empty Property Research ‘Another Sign Of Retail’s Ongoing Problems’

Insolvency Expert Comments On Latest Predictions


An insolvency expert at Irwin Mitchell has warned that new research which suggests the number of empty shops on high streets in the UK will increase across the 2012 demonstrates the ongoing problems faced by the retail sector.

According to the Local Data Company, vacancy rates in the UK across the last year stayed stable at 14.3 per cent but there were some differences regionally, with Stockport recording the highest rate at 30 per cent.

The organisation added that the trends, which have been linked to a number of factors including unemployment and growth in the online sector, are likely to continue through 2012.

Andrew Walker, Partner and insolvency specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said that the rising number of empty properties was a significant example of how many businesses are likely to face a difficult time in the coming months.

He outlined: “When viewed in line with the latest Insolvency Service figures – which showed a slight increase in corporate insolvencies across 2011 - this prediction is not particularly surprising.

“It is an unfortunate truth that it is becoming increasingly clear that conditions in the retail sector are unlikely to improve for high street-based businesses in the coming months and, sadly, some businesses need to fail in order to allow more viable propositions to thrive.

“In our experience we have seen that many firms yet to tip over the edge are ‘zombies’, surviving but not currently in a position where they can grow. “With the next rent quarter day fast approaching at the end of March, many of them could be facing a very difficult time.

“Both the British Property Federation and the government continue to consider the issue of town centres and the terrible problems many are currently facing, so we hope that new ideas continue to be put forward to ensure that these areas can be developed and continue to be used by their communities.”