The UK shop vacancy rate fell by 0.1 per cent in May to 13.4 per cent as the economic recovery slightly improved.
The rate was 14.1 per cent the same time last year.
The data, measured by the Local Data Company (LDC), have been relatively stable since September 2010. But prior to the economic crash in September 2008, the shop vacancy rate stood at around 5.5 per cent.
Matthew Hopkinson, director at the LDC commented: “The improving vacancy rate reflects a more positive economic outlook for consumers in terms of price deflation, wage increases and continued interest rates at an all time low.”
He warned: “These factors are highly volatile so it would be wrong to call the market on vacancy rates as much can change in a very short space of time as history shows!”
Chris Grigg, chief of property investment company British Land told the Independent last week that a quarter of all retail property is “technically obsolete.”
“These developments are going to have to shrink down so they have got a much clearer purpose through a combination of effective stores, more residential, more mixed use. But it is a very painful process,” he said.
The Local Data Company gathers data from over half a million retail premises across 2,700 towns and cities, retail parks and shopping centres.