Retail vacancy has shown some signs of improvement over the last six months. The overall rate for the city is down almost 1% from 8.8% in March to 7.9% this month. The Lanes and North Laine have held out well and the Business Improvement District (BID) looks very healthy despite many gaps in North Street.
According to the latest figures from the Brighton & Hove Business Forum, the vacancy rate for The Lanes as a whole was 5.4% compared with 2.2% in March. The North Laine fell to 6.4% compared with 8.2% in March.
However, if we look at the North Laine streets in the BID area the rate is a more favourable 2.2% compared with 4.9% in March and in the Lanes it is 0.8% compared with 2.3% in March.
Taking the BID area as a whole the rate is 4%. The average is brought down by North St which is currently 9.6% (but down from 12% in March).
Preston St is still the worst affected street in the city centre but it has stabilised at 18.8%. This is well above the national average of 14.4% so is still a cause for concern.
Queens Road has dropped slightly from 9.8% to 8.6%. This is also a concern for the city particularly as it is a major gateway and the first location visitors see when they arrive by train.
Taking Queens Road and Preston Street into the new expanded Business Improvement District could mark the beginning of a transformation of these areas.
Vacancy at Churchill Square was 2.3% in Ocotber but the empty units were in the process of being let and the centre is now 100% occupied. The city now has much coveted leading brands such as Urban Outfitters, COS and Holisters to add to its portfolio.
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Brighton & Hove Business Forum