The high street is hurting and property owners in Wales seem to be getting the worst of it. According to property experts and the council, the number of empty shops in Cardiff increased from 9.7 percent in October 2008 to 15.8 percent last October.
As a result, shop rents have dropped by up to 70 percent in parts of Cardiff’s historic city centre, reports Wales Online. The depressing figures were presented to Cardiff council planners by property firm Calan Retail, which is struggling to find tenants for its own property.
Calan has now applied for permission to change the use for the ground floor and upper floors in its Habitat building to restaurants and cafes, as they should do better than retail shops. Calan executive Andy Sturrock told the council that the retail market went through a seismic change over the past six years.
Rents on Queen Street have fallen by a third since 2008, but the worst example comes from a unit at Cardiff’s Capitol Center. The unit used to be rented by fashion chain Oasis for £224,000 per annum, but last year it was acquired by a sandwich shop for £70,000.