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Empty Shop Premises 'to Hit 15%'

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About 15% of High Street shops will be empty by the end of 2009, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has predicted.

This would be more than double the 7% of stores which were vacant at the start of the year.

And the BRC said some areas had already seen up to 40% of shop space empty, amid the slump in consumer confidence.

Big names such as Woolworths have disappeared from the High Street, but overall, UK retail sales have not collapsed, as some had feared.

Gateshead, Harwich in Essex and Walkden in Greater Manchester were among the worst hit areas.


Currently, about 12% of town centre shops were empty, the BRC said.

"It is clear that in many places, recession is accelerating a trend of decline that was already under way," the BRC said.

"The dangers associated with this deteriorating picture are clear.

"Vacant units are perhaps one of the most visible impacts of the economic downturn. Shoppers who are unable to ignore increasingly visible vacant units in their local communities are likely to further reinforce falling consumer confidence."

That's going to be a lot of empty shops and a lot of jobs lost. But still at least we have the recovery to look forward too.

I wonder what this will do to rents.....

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