Vacant shops hit 33% in some towns
One in three shops are empty in some parts of the UK after an increase in the gap between the best and worst performing towns, a new report shows.
Nationally, one in seven shops have remained vacant in the past year and there is unlikely to be a significant improvement because of the economic climate, said the Local Data company.
The news came a year after the Belfast Telegraph reported the "death of the high street" as locally-owned stores in Northern Ireland struggle to survive the economic crisis.
The study of 1,000 towns and cities found that the three-fold increase in vacancy rates since 2007 had stopped, but some retail centres had one in three shops closed, while others remained at pre-recession levels.
Southern areas of the UK had vacancy levels at or below 1%, while the midlands and north ranged from 13% to 16% - also having the top 10 worst-performing large centres, including Stockport, Blackpool and Grimsby.