THERE are fewer vacant shops in York city centre now than on any occasion recorded since 2016.

The most recent figures show there 43 empty stores in June 2019 - compared to 53 the year before.

This means 6.7 per cent of all city centre units were empty - much lower than the national average of 11.7 per cent.

But a City of York Council report says footfall in Parliament Street has fallen in the past year.

The report says: "At the end of quarter two 2019/20, there were 43 vacant shops in the city centre - which is a reduction from 53 at the end of quarter two 2017/18.

"The York figure hasn’t fluctuated a great deal in the past 10 years, with a high of 9.16 per cent [vacant] in 2016/17 and the national benchmark figure has remained fairly stable too, with a high of 12.3 per cent in 2013/14.

"The challenges faced by York city centre are the same as those faced nationally due to changing consumer behaviour.

"Provisional figures show that Parliament Street footfall up to September 2019/20 has decreased by 3.25 per cent since 2018/19.

"This reflects the national picture as Springboard BRC has reported the average decline of 2 per cent in the last six months and a 10 per cent decline in the last seven years."

Pop up shops have been encouraged to use empty units.