As the pandemic forced many retailers to close their doors permanently, shop vacancy rates have been on the rise.
In the UK, vacancy rates rose to 13.2 per cent in the third quarter of the current financial year from 12.4 per cent in the previous quarter, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of increase in availability of retail space.
The BRC-LDC monitor that studies these vacancy rates reported that although all locations are experiencing high rates due to the shutting down of businesses, malls and shopping centres have been hit the hardest, charting an increase of 16.3 per cent this quarter as compared to 14.3 per cent in Q2.
High street shopping districts came in at the average with an increase to 13.3 per cent from 12.4 per cent in Q2.
The most promising so far have been retail parks that marked an increase in space availability to 9.2 per cent from 8.3 per cent.
This news comes as many countries in Europe including Germany, France and the UK announced the onset of the second wave of the pandemic and the consequent lockdowns.
Substantiating further, BRC CEO Helen Dickinson, said “With a second wave of the pandemic upon us, we have seen a record rise in the number of closed shops. Shopping centres and malls fared the worst amongst retail destinations due to the higher proportion of fashion outlets, where consumer demand has been hit hardest.”
She added “The uncertainty in the retail climate has also meant that even those looking to expand their footprint are holding off making investments in new stores. As a result, we expect to see the retail vacancy rate continue to rise.”