Cafes and restaurants taking over high street

highstreetAs retailers moved to ditch pricey high street property and weather the storm somewhere cheaper, many town centres started resembling recession ghost towns, but not for long. According to the latest figures from the Local Data Company, the overall store vacancy rate fell to 14.1 percent, from 14.2 percent in February.

The high street did even better, as vacancies in big centres fell to 13.5 percent from 16.2 percent a year ago. A similar trend was observed in medium and small centres. However, the vacant retail space was filled by cafes, restaurants and betting shops, not brick and mortar retailers.

Shopping centres are still struggling with relatively high vacancy rates, which improved only slightly from 16.2 percent to 16.1 percent, Sky.reports. The regional divide is still evident, as 21 out of the 25 hardest hit areas are in the North, Wales or Midlands.

“This report clearly shows that whilst the rise of empty shops has stalled it still remains stubbornly high for many towns up and down the country,” said LDC director Matthew Hopkinson.