UK retail sales declined by 2.5% in July

More Trouble For UK’s Retail Sector: Vacancy Rates on the Rise

Posted Friday, October 30, 2020 by
Arslan Butt • 1 min read

The latest report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) paints a grim picture of the retail sector in the UK, with several shops downing their shutters in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic. Overall national vacancy rate across the country picked up from 12.4% in Q2 to 13.2% in Q3 2020, rising for the ninth consecutive quarter.

The vacancy rate across UK’s famed high street also picked up, from 12.4% in Q2 to 13.3% in Q3. The BRC noted that the government’s business rates holiday had offered some support to the sector, but insisted that more measures were required to prevent business conditions of retail stores from getting worse.

In the wake of the recent resurgence in cases, this news indicates more strain for retail businesses in the coming months. The government is contemplating imposing more restrictions contain the spread of infections, which would hit stores’ businesses ahead of the upcoming holiday season.

Chief executive at the BRC, Helen Dickinson, remarks, “Shopping centres fared the worst among retail sites due to the higher proportion of fashion outlets, where consumer demand has been hit hardest. The uncertain climate has also meant that even those looking to expand are holding off making investments in new stores. As a result, we expect to see the retail vacancy rate continue to rise.”

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