December saw a dip in the number of empty shops – but retailers should brace themselves for a possible new onslaught of closures in 2013.
That is the stark warning from The Local Data Company, which believes we might see twice as many retail shutdowns this year as in 2012.
The LDC’s latest research shows that the monthly shop vacancy rate decreased for the third month in a row in December – down 0.06% to 14.25%. But the figures do not necessarily reflect an upturn in retail, cautioned LDC director Matthew Hopkinson.
“This further decrease reflects the seasonal nature of retailing and the increase in the number of pop-up shops across the country,” he said.
“In light of recent administrations and the number of distressed retailers being quoted I fear that we’ll see a rise in the number of vacant shops as we enter 2013. There’s the potential for a doubling of closures from what we’ve seen in 2012.”
However, retailers were fighting back, he added: “Aside from the numbers, it’s interesting to increasingly come across more and more innovative ideas as to how we can tackle vacant units, from independents combining forces under one roof to the use of derelict shopping centres for war gaming or even being chased about by zombies!
“Technology is the key driver in all things retail and the impending arrival of 4G across all networks is likely to further accelerate this.”