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Empty shops at record levels in UK town centres

Published on Nov 19, 2012 9:11 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - The proportion of empty shops in British town centres hit a record in October in the face of stagnating sales and rising costs, according to a survey from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) published on Monday.

The year 2012 has seen several high profile retail failures, including sportswear group JJB Sports, outdoor goods group Blacks Leisure, video games retailer Game and greetings card firm Clinton Cards. Though they all re-emerged in some form, hundreds of stores have closed.

The retail lobby group said the proportion of empty stores on UK high streets and in shopping centres was 11.3 per cent in October, the highest figure since the BRC began publishing the survey in July 2011 and 0.4 per cent worse year-on-year.

It said Northern Ireland (20 per cent), Wales (15.1 per cent) and the North and Yorkshire (14.6 per cent) had the highest vacancy rates.

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