More than 1 in 10 shops are currently empty according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC said the town centre vacancy rate of 11.3% was the worst figure since its nationwide survey began in July 2011.  The figures come as one of the largest retailers Comet prepares to close stores throughout the country.

The worst affected region is Northern Ireland where the empty shop rate is around 20%.  The next worst affected regions were then Wales and the Northern region, each area at about 15% of premises being empty.

The BRC survey also said that overall footfall which attempts to measure the number of shoppers dropped by 0.4% on a year ago in the three months to October, with a big drop-off in numbers in October itself, when numbers fell by 2.6%.

Rising Costs to Blame?

Mr Stephen Robertson, Director General of the BRC said “retailers were also being hurt by higher prices and overheads with many battling stagnating sales and rising costs, and next year’s threatened business rates increase can only make matters worse. If the government wants to breathe life back into our town centres and ensure the retail industry can play its full role in job creation it needs to freeze rates in 2013”.

Some landlords may not realise that having an unoccupied property could impact their existing business insurance as having an empty property does present more risk.

Commercial property owners should inform their existing insurer or broker about the change in circumstance to ensure their commercial property insurance is still valid.

Most insurance brokers are able to provide bespoke unoccupied property insurance and can take into consideration the reason for the property being vacant and the potential time it will remain empty. If your insurer is unable to help with your unoccupied shop insurance please do not hesitate to contact The Insurance Octopus or get a quote online now.