As retail sales and visitors to the High Street plummet in the UK, Brighton city centre is bucking all the national trends and holding up well (for the moment) against the deepening recession.
The latest retail vacancy survey conducted in March shows that 6.9% of retail units are empty in the city centre but the national benchmark is 9.5% and Experian is warning that it could go as high as 15% with a 12% average actross the whole of 2009. The city centre vacancy rate in October 2008 was 4.7%.
The independent shopping areas are well below both the national and local benchmarks at just over 5% for the North Laine and 5.5% for the Lanes.
Footfall is also holding up well with a 2% increase in visitor numbers to the prime pitch of the city centre in the first 12 weeks of the year compared to the same period in 2008 against a national benchmark of minus 1.7%.
Brighton’s retail sales in February 2009 were down by 1.3% but even this is better than the national benchmark of 1.9%
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