Report looks at state of the South West retail market

Nick Turk

Nick Turk


A number of key towns across the West Country have registered the largest quarterly fall in empty shops since 2006, according to Colliers International’s latest research.

The property consultant’s National Retail Barometer for Q3 2014 shows that the average void rate across the UK by number of units now stands at 13 per cent.

Bournemouth, Chippenham, Plymouth and Worcester were among 12 of the 15 locations tracked which experienced significant falls in their vacancy rates.

In Chippenham, vacancy rates are down from eight per cent in 2013 to 5.2 per cent; with Chippenham being the only location outside of London to report single figure percentages.

Bournemouth and Worcester have also witnessed strong falls in their respective vacancy rates and, alongside Northampton in the East Midlands, contribute 45 per cent of the total fall in vacancy seen across Colliers’ sample.

In Plymouth, the opening of the Drake Centre in 2006 has redefined town centre shopping patterns and has led to a similar reduction in vacancy rates.

Colliers International retail specialist Nick Turk comments: “Following rafts of retailer administrations and rapid technological and consumer change, we are seeing evidence that the High Street is finding a new role within the retail hierarchy.

“By seeking the right mix of national and independent retailers alongside a strong leisure offer, our high streets can be positioned alongside online shopping rather than against it.”

The report underlined the fact that most online shoppers preferred to collect goods rather than rely on home delivery.