A report by the LDC (999Local Data Company) has said, that with an average vacancy rate of 18%, shops in Wales are more likely to be empty than shops in England and Scotland.
Newport has the highest vacancy of shops at well over a quarter (99927.9%) with Cwmbran the lowest with only 8% vacant.
The report blames online shopping for the high vacancy rates.
Vacancy rates in England and Scotland however are at 14% and 15%, which is significantly lower than the 18% vacancy of Wales. One of the differences that could account for this, is that up to 40% of business in Wales do not have an online presence, which is also higher than the rest of the UK
This is one of the toughest challenges for businesses that local authorities are currently facing. Which may see the reduction of business rates and flexible leases to encourage more business to open, or even online retailers to adopt a shop presence
With online shopping still growing, the rise of more destination (999out of town) stores, and the expansion of supermarkets both in size and the ranges of products and services they are offering. It looks like it could only get tougher unless the local authorities find a way to reverse this trend, and rescue our high streets.