More empty shops in Lincoln, but still below national average

More than 13 businesses have closed shop in Lincoln city centre since December 2012, as the vacancy rate rose to 8.6% in January.

Year-on-year, the number of empty shop premises rose from 6.9% to 9.2%, but this is below the national and regional figures.

Nationally, the number of vacant retail units in town and city centres has fallen to 10.9%, a drop of 0.4% from October 2012.

The figures from Lincoln BIG also indicate the number of shoppers in Lincoln fell by 2.4% in January, compared to the national average for the month dropping 4.6% from January 2012.

Out of town locations saw footfall drop by 7.2% in January, compared with a drop of only 3.3% in town centres.

Lincoln BIG Chief Executive Matt Corrigan said: “Despite Lincoln not being able to escape some very high-profile closures, such as Jessops, we have managed to hold onto our HMV store, which enjoys a prominent position in the High Street.

“We have also seen positive signs from our independent retailers and bigger city centre players.

“In fact, January’s cold and snow seems to have worked in the favour of high streets and town centres across the country, as local people once again appreciated the value of local shops on their doorsteps.”

The Association of Town Centre Management has been working with Springboard and the British Retail Consortium to “take the temperature” of the High Street, which also supplies the data for Lincoln BIG.

Springboard Director of Retail Insights Diane Wehrle said: “Despite the high-profile demise of some major retail high street fascia, the vacancy rate in the UK now stands at 10.99%, which is a slight reduction from the rate of 11.3% recorded in October 2012 and a drop back to the level last recorded in July 2012.”