Retail vacancy rate falls in Liverpool

New data from Liverpool BID Company reveals there has been a fall in the number of vacant retail units in Liverpool city centre in the last few months. Tony McDonough reports

Church Street
Church Street, Liverpool city centre. Picture by Tony McDonough

 

There are fewer empty shop units in Liverpool city centre compared to autumn 2021, new figures from Liverpool BID Company shows.

As high streets continue to recover from the pandemic, the BID data reveals the vacancy rate for Liverpool city centre, excluding Liverpool ONE, is 8.77%. This is higher than pre-pandemic but it has come down from 11.36% in July 2020 and 9.79% in October 2021.

BID analyses empty shop fronts in Liverpool’s central retail and leisure areas, from Bold Street to the Cavern Quarter, Metquarter, Church Street, Queen Square and Williamson Square.

Taken every two months, the number of vacant shop fronts, or units being refurbished, helps to take the temperature of the high street and monitors the level of investment within it.

In April 2022 there were 513 shop front units in Liverpool city centre. 209 were independent businesses. 45 were vacant. The vacancy rate is slightly higher than January 2022 where it stood at 8.64% and it is higher than January 2021, where it stood at 6.,68%. 

The highest density of vacancies is on Church Street where 13 units out of 100 are vacant with three being refurbished. Nine out of 90 are vacant at St Johns shopping centre, six out of 109 on Bold Street, with another six being refurbished.

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Four out of 70 are vacant in the Central Station, Lime Street and Renshaw Street retailer areas. In the Cavern Quarter four out of 45 are vacant and six out of 49 are vacant in Williamson Square.

Figures also show 40%, or 210, of Liverpool’s shop units are independents. 48% of on Bold Street, 80% at Metquarter, 62% in the Cavern Quarter, 52 in St Johns, 41% at Williamson Square, 18% on Church Street and 10% at Clayton Square.

In comparison with the UK, the national vacancy rate rate in January was 11.7%, compared to 11.8% in the North West and 8.7% in Liverpool.

Jennina O’Neill, chair of Liverpool BID Company’s Retail & Leisure BID and centre manager of Metquarter, said: “Liverpool city centre continues to perform robustly in the face of the economic challenges we are facing.

“We were expecting that, with the withdrawal of government support seen during the pandemic, some businesses would struggle, but Liverpool city centre remains strong. The city’s independents have performed consistently well during the past two years and continue to add colour and personality to our city centre.

“There is a rapid turnover of units in the city and we welcome new stores such as Decathlon and Flannels to the city centre this year. At Liverpool BID we continue to work with both our partners in the city centre and our levy-payers to deliver our manifesto pledges.

“That includes delivering a thriving and vibrant city centre and working to make our city centre a welcoming, safe and sustainable place to live, work and visit. We have commissioned a new strategic vision for our core retail area to identify how we can continue to build on the city centre’s strength’s post-pandemic.”

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