LDC has completed research which reveals that almost 20% of stores in northern England are empty, compared to 10% in south.
According to the research, the shop vacancy rate across England was 13.3% at the close of last year, which is a decline from 14.6% in February 2012.
The north-east revealed the worst figures, with a vacancy rate of 18.8% for the second half of 2014, which is down 0.3% on the previous year. The best vacancy rate was experienced in London, at 8.78%, a decline of 0.4%.
The report also indicated that 20% of all stores it tracked had been empty for a period longer than three years. This is a total of almost 10000 stores.
As regards shop vacancies since 2008, the north-west experienced the worst figures, but the north-east has now surpassed its figures.
The 10 worst town centers as regards vacant leisure and retail space are based in the West Midlands, north-east and north-west. The top three are based in Burslem, with a rate of 29.4%; Stoke-on-Trent with 27.7% and Hartlepool, with 27.3%.
The top 10 highest-occupied city centers indicated that six were located within the southeast and Greater London. A zero percent vacancy rate was enjoyed by the top three which included Debden in Essex, and Highgate in London. Buckinghamshire’s Beaconsfield enjoyed a 0.9% vacancy rate.
During last month Tesco announced that it is planning to shut 43 of its stores and have scrapped plans to open 49 new stores. Morrisons is due to close 10 stores.
The director of LDC, Matthew Hopkinson, stated that the numbers which have been announced to date are small in comparison to the totals. He said the main aspect of this situation is that while traditional stores have been shutting, the convenience stores and supermarket have been expanding and this has balanced the occupancy rates. However, it is not possible to predict who will now take occupation of the already vacant stores and the ones due to become vacant.