Research carried out by Cushman & Wakefield shows that the average availability of retail units across Great Britain's top streets was 9.8% at August 1, 2010, down from 11.1% in May. This figure is the lowest level of retail availability recorded in the last 18 months.
While retailers remain cautious there has been a marginal improvement in retail market sentiment over the past six months which appears to have filtered through to retail availability levels. Stronger operators are capitalizing on previous failures and expanding their market share. Availability as a consequence of administration remains a diminishing factor and continues to decline.
Overall availability has fallen by 1.3% over the last three months from May 2010. The number of retail units available within the key retail areas as a consequence of administration has also decreased marginally by 0.21%. Compared with a year ago (Chart 1), the overall level of availability within the main areas has fallen (from 12.6% in 2009 to 9.8% currently).
The prime areas of a sample of key towns across all regions of Great Britain have been examined in detail to gain a clearer picture of the level of retail availability (Chart 2). The lowest levels of availability (including those units in administration) as at 1 August 2010 in the main retail areas are currently in Central London (5.1%) and the North (7.7%). Outer London has the highest level of availability (17.4%), followed by the Midlands (12.1%) and Scotland (11.0%).