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Gloucestershire Business News

Call for action to prevent rise in vacant shops

A leading retail trade association has called on the Government to ensure small shops are not left with "unpayable debts" after a further rise in the number of vacant premises.

And without action, the British Retail Association says there will be "unprecedented retail and business failures".

The overall vacancy rate across the UK rose for the eighth consecutive quarter, rising from 12.2 per cent to 12.4 per cent to the end of June.

On the high street, the figure rose from 12.3 per cent to 12.4 per cent while shopping centre vacancies increased by 0.2 per cent to 14.3.

In retail parks, the increase was 0.1 per cent to 8.3 per cent.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "The second quarter rise in the vacancy rate across retail sites was modest as government support allowed many locations to survive lockdown.

"The full effect of the pandemic are yet to be seen and Covid has accelerated many of the changes in retailing.

"The shuttering of too many shops on our high streets will threaten the vibrancy of town centres and damage local economies."

She continued: "With many months of rent having built up during lockdown, the Government must ensure local stores are not shouldered with unpayable debts.

"Without action, there will be unprecedented retail and business failures, job losses and knock on consequences for highly geared property owners"

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