The figures come from the Local Data Company, who walk the core area of 650 of the country’s town and city centres to produce an accurate figure. They found that the number of empty shops in the top 650 town centres currently stands in excess of 23,000. Even more shops stand vacant in neighbourhood parades and smaller centres.
With shops currently reporting that sales are down, this figure may well rise again before the end of the year.
“When we started the Empty Shops Network, town centres had between 6-8% of their shops empty,” says founder Dan Thompson, “but now we’re working in places that have 15-35% vacancy, which proves that the retail landscape has fundamentally shifted and we need to find new uses for our town centres.”
The Empty Shops Network are currently working on Retail Ready People, recruiting over 300 young people for projects in ten locations to help them explore new uses for empty shops where they live. Retail Ready People is currently recruiting in Brighton and Enfield.