Scots shop vacancy figs show slight improvement

THE number of empty shops on Scotland’s high streets has remained broadly the same between the months of June-September last year and October-December, but other figures across the county have slightly improved.

According to the British Retail Consortium, in the fourth quarter of last year (ie October to December), the Scottish ‘vacancy rate’ across all types of retail offerings decreased to 16.1 per cent, from 16.4 per cent in Q3.

In other words, 16.1 per cent represents around one in 6.5 premises – recognised as a quite depressing rate.

And 16.1 per cent was also 1.7 percentage points higher than in the same point in 2020.

Meanwhile, shopping centre vacancies decreased to 20.4 per cent from Q3’s 21.4 per cent.

And on the high street, vacancies remained at 15 per cent for the second consecutive quarter in Q4.

Retail Park vacancies decreased to 12.6 per cent in Q4 2021, down from 13.4 per cent in Q3. It remains the location with the lowest rate.

UK-wide, figures were slightly encouraging – here – providing, as described by the BRC – ‘glimmers of hope’.

The BRC quotes the director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, David Lonsdale, as saying: “Scotland’s shop vacancy rate marginally improved in the final months of 2021, following six successive quarters of deterioration.

“It was a small, but nonetheless welcome, improvement, aided by pop-ups and temporary lets deployed in the run up to the all-important festive trading period.

“That said, these figures offer few crumbs of comfort. Too many stores aren’t in use and the vacancy rate has remained above 16 per cent for a third successive quarters. The volume of empty units is especially prominent in Scotland’s shopping centres.”

Pictured: Kirkcaldy, Fife, Picture credit: Place Design Scotland