High Street Store Vacancies At Four-Year Low
The decay of Britain's high streets with empty shop fronts may be at an end, according to a new study.
Research into vacancy rates at more than 2,000 shopping centres and town areas shows it is now below 14% for the first time in four years.
The Local Data Company (LDC) said 13.6% of shops were empty in December - more than 50,000 stores.
It said that compared to the vacancy rate peak of 14.6%, in 2012.
However, the LDC said there appears to be a growing regional divide in occupancies.
In the past year vacancies have grown in the East of England, the North East and the North West.
The proportion of empty stores in the North West is now above 17%, more than double the rate of London.
The company's research also suggested large shopping centres continue to affect the retail health of surrounding areas.
It said town centres near the 12 largest shopping centres have recorded worsening occupancy rates in the last year.
:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.