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York's shop vacancy rates second best in country
THE small number of empty shops in the centre of York means the city has come second in a poll of the lowest shop vacancy rates in the country.
Last week, The Press reported how the city was bucking the national trend of declining independent retailers.
Now, new figures have revealed another boost to business after York came second only to Cambridge in the list of “large centres” with the lowest percentage of empty shops.
The city, which has a vacancy rate of seven per cent, has beaten the overall outlook for Yorkshire and the Humber, which has been listed as the fourth worst hit area, with almost 17 per cent of shops standing empty.
The figures, from The Local Data Company, come from the analysis of more than 1,900 town centres, shopping centres and retail parks during the first six months of the year.
Frank Wood, chairman of the York Retail Forum, said: “I’m pleased to say we are regularly listed as having low vacancy rates. York is a very popular place to shop, and retailers benefit from this Brand York ethos among customers.
“As a result, that is reflected in a high demand for our shops.”
The news comes as one of York’s oldest shops has been let to a new business following stiff competition from a range of potential occupants.
The premises in Stonegate have been let to partners Dimpal Bhogal and Agnes Széchy for their new business Bags & Bobs, which will sell luggage, bags and accessories.
Richard Flanagan, of Flanagan James Property Consultants, who advised the private owners of the property, said: “Interest in this retail unit was such that we had a number of interested parties all wanting to take advantage of the excellent location and high footfall, with a local independent retailer beating off competition which included some national retailers.”
The property was previously let for 25 years to American Express which latterly traded as Kanoo Travel, and was marketed by Flanagan James at an annual rental of £28,000.
It has been let on a new six- year lease, following refurbishment by the owners.
The new shop vacancy figures have revealed a north/south divide, with 21 of the 25 worst centres for vacant shops in the North, Midlands and Wales, compared to 22 of the best performing locations being in the South. Yorkshire’s 16.9 per cent vacancy compares with nine per cent in London.
• The number of shoppers visiting York dropped by almost five per cent in a year, new figures have shown.
A study of “footfall” in the city’s main shopping areas by City of York Council has shown the figure at the start of July this year was 4.9 per cent down year-on-year, well below the UK average and with the gap having widened towards the end of the first quarter of 2012/13.
Figures for the second quarter of the year – covering July to September and including part of the Lendal Bridge closure period – are expected in November.
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