Vacancy rates fall across Town Centres, Shopping Centres and Retail Parks


Vacancy rates have fallen for the fourth consecutive quarter according to research from the BCSC, the British Council of Shopping Centres. The East of England and the North East both saw vacancy rates fall by 2.1% over the period, whilst Wales was the only region to see a small rise in vacancy.


The BCSC uses information from its network of shopping centres and retailers across the country to compile definitive industry information on a broad array of topics from vacancy rates the latest retail trends.


A decrease in the number of vacant units is great news for consumers, shopping centres and promoters alike. It’s often a self-fulfilling prophecy as more diversity and choice in shops and restaurants means more customers which leads in turn to more shops. Regardless the latest data shows that our shopping centres, retail parks and town centres are continuing to grow.


Lower vacancy rates in shopping centres make them more attractive to experiential events and sampling campaigns, which are fast becoming important sources of diversified income for centres. Low vacancy rates in a centre are a good indication of a dynamic and growing environment with a strong consumer base, ideal for product launches or to make an impression and connection with consumers.


As spaces within stores become scarcer, many promoters are seeking alternatives to a long-term lease. Two of the biggest trends in retail over the past few years have been the rise in pop-up shops and RMUs or Retail Merchandising Units. Pop-up stores can give a brand the chance to make a splash quickly, with an innovative design making a truly memorable experience out of shopping.

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RMUs on the other hand can give smaller businesses the chance to build a customer base and trial their products before expanding to a larger lease. Everything from independent food and coffee shops to seasonal stores can be accommodated on an RMU. They’re hugely popular with niche retailers like crafted jewellery or even high-end items like low-calorie champagne and while the retailers benefit from low overheads and the chance for instant feedback from their customers, consumers enjoy the variety they bring to centres and the chance to try something new.


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