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News - 26 March 2012

Empty shops rate hits record.

The proportion of shops in Britain lying empty has hit a new record of 14.6% in February, according to figures compiled by the Local Data Company.

Vacancy rates had begun to stabilise at the end of 2011, but they have risen in January and February, the LDC said.

Lavinia Newman, Founder of ABDS says:
“It is a timely reminder to the government... of the significant challenges facing town and city centres up and down the country.”

The figures reflect official retail sales data for the month, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday. Sales volumes declined by a larger-than-expected 0.8% in February, the ONS said.

But they were still 1% higher than a year earlier.

Retail consultant and TV presenter Mary Portas was asked by the government to look at ways to revitalise struggling town centres.

Her report, published in December 2011, recommended cutting regulations and proposed a bigger role for street markets in town centres.

Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation.
"Our high streets need vision, trade and investment, and landlords therefore welcomed a key recommendation from the Portas report in December that allows property owners to match the funding that retailers put in to Business
Currently, only retailers can contribute to Business Improvement Districts. It will require a change in the law to allow landlords to take part in these initiatives, which are currently funded by increases in business rates.
Game, which has 600 High Street branches in the UK, said this week that it was going into administration after key suppliers stopped doing business with them. It is continuing to trade while it tries to find a solution to its debt problems.

If you need any help and advice on Business Plans, Management Accounts, Budgets and Cash Flow Forecasts, contact Lavinia Newman, Stuart Coleman or Tonmoy Kumar NOW to discuss how ABDS can help in all your financial planning.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

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