The number of shop vacancies hit an all-time recorded high of 14.6% in February.
The Local Data Company says the figure is the highest percentage since it started its monthly barometer records in 2008.
Vacancies were stable at 14.3% during the second half of last year, but the figure then rose to 14.5% in January before edging up again last month.
LDC director Matthew Hopkinson said: “The latest increase is not unexpected as post-Christmas occupancy levels drop and retailer failures continue with Game Group, with 600 shops, the latest.”
He said it was a timely reminder to the government, which is due to respond to Mary Portas’ review of the state of high streets soon, of the significant challenges facing town and city centres up and down the country.