The UK’s shop vacancy rate has dropped to its lowest level since July 2010, according to the Local Data Company.

The LDC’s latest research showed that vacancy rates continued to decline in April, by 1% to 13.5%. This compared to 14.1% a year ago and is the lowest level for nearly four years.

However, more than 50,000 units remain vacant across the UK’s towns, shopping centres and retail parks - the equivalent of 10 Leeds city centres.

Matthew Hopkinson, director at the Local Data Company, said: “The continued improvement in vacancy rates is an encouraging sign and reflects the increasing consumer confidence although recent footfall numbers showing decline perhaps allude to a more focused shopper when they do venture out.”

He added that stock levels had reduced a little “which hopefully means that at long last landlords, planners and local authorities are realising that alternative uses need to be sought for many of these empty units”.