finance

Scottish vacancy rate reaches fresh six-year high


In the third quarter, the Scottish retail vacancy rate increased to 16.4%, up from 16.1% in the second quarter – and 2.4% higher than in the same point in 2020.

The latest Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Local Data Company figures also showed that on the high street specifically, vacancies increased to 15% in the third quarter, from 14.5% in the second.

However, shopping centre vacancies decreased to 21.4% from 21.5% in the second quarter, while retail park vacancies decreased to 13.4% in the third quarter, down from 14.1% in the second – remaining the location with the lowest rate.



SRC director David Lonsdale explained that now one in six retail premises lies empty, with the vacancy rate reaching a fresh six-year high.

“This is a vivid reminder of the heavy economic toll of the pandemic and of repeated lockdowns and restrictions.

“Retail can play a massive role in the economic recovery, however it needs continued support to do so – the Scottish Government has sensibly shelved a ban on shops opening to customers on New Year’s Day, however these stark figures underline the urgency of the upcoming Scottish Budget taking swift steps to reignite consumer confidence and blunt next April’s full reinstatement of rates.”

Lucy Stainton, director at the Local Data Company, added: “A flattening off of vacancy rates does not mean that contributing activity levels are slowing by any means.

“We are still seeing an incredible volume of businesses opening and closing, beneath these top-line stats, and this makes devising and implementing investment strategies whether you’re a landlord or a retailer, set against constantly shifting sands and supply side challenges, very challenging still.”

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