Britain’s shop vacancy rate dropped to 13.2% for October.

According to the Local Data Company (LDC), the rate lowered from September’s 13.3% and is the lowest vacancy rate since June 2010. The combined retail and leisure vacancy rate stands at 11.8%.

LDC director Matthew Hopkinson said that although the vacancy rate had dropped, existing empty sites had to be dealt with.

“Whilst the top line numbers are broadly positive the devil is in the detail with regards what can be done with one in 10 shops that are surplus to requirement. In the top 650 towns alone the number of empty shops equates to FOUR Birmingham city centres lying empty!”

Data from the LDC also revealed that in the top 650 towns across Great Britain, one in three, or 7,697 out of 25,393, of the empty sites have been vacant for more than three years.

“New data that we will track every month from now on shows that one in three shops have remained vacant for more than three years,” said Hopkinson. “This equates to nearly 8,000 shops that need to be demolished or re-developed as clearly there is no retail use for them. 38.9% of the empty shops in the top 650 towns have been vacancy for less than a year which is an acceptable situation but that means that the vast majority (61.1%) have been vacant for more than a year with landlords having to pay business rates with limited hope of reoccupation.”