finance

Festive pop-ups aid marginal improvement in Scottish shop vacancies



In the fourth quarter of 2021, the Scottish vacancy rate decreased marginally 16.1%, from 16.4% the previous quarter, and 1.7% higher than in the same point in 2020.

The latest Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Local Data Company figures showed that shopping centre vacancies decreased to 20.4%, from 21.4%. in the third quarter last year.

On the high street, vacancies remained at 15% for the second consecutive quarter, while retail park vacancies decreased to 12.6% in the fourth quarter, down from 13.4% during the pervious three months – remaining the location with the lowest rate.

SRC director David Lonsdale said the improvement was aided by pop-ups and temporary lets deployed in the run up to the all-important festive trading period.

“That said, these figures offer few crumbs of comfort – too many stores aren’t in use and the vacancy rate has remained above 16% for a third successive quarter.

“The fallout from the pandemic continues to exert a heavy toll on retail destinations, and a sustained shift towards hybrid working could make it trickier for store vacancy rates to ever fully recover.”

Lucy Stainton, director at the Local Data Company, said: “We are still seeing rationalisation across many of the chain retailers and leisure operators reflected in these latest statistics, but the growth in the number of independent businesses is helping stem further increases in vacant units.

“Landlords, and place-makers more generally, will need to closely consider how the needs and wants of local consumers might have changed post-pandemic, and align with operators who are active and meet their demands such that the first signs of recovery continue.”

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