Liverpool city centre sees fall in level of void retail units

Church Street, Liverpool

The level of empty shops in Liverpool city centre has fallen in the past quarter, the latest figures from Liverpool BID Company and Springboard show.

During the three month period the number of ground floor level void units fell to 6.2%, the lowest since before the pandemic, and compares with 9.9% in the previous quarter.

Liverpool’s 6.2% figure is lower than the national average for empty shop units, at 10.2%, as well as London (8.7%) and the North West average of 9.7%

For independent units, the vacancy rate is 42.2% in Liverpool city centre, while the North West is 48.4% and the UK is 42.7%.

The vacancy rate in Liverpool has seen a drop after rising during 2021 during the pandemic, where it reached 9.8% in October 2021 and 8.6% in January 2022.

The national level has also continued to drop. It reached 11.8% in July 2021 and 11.7% a year ago in January 2021 before dropping to 10.2% in the latest figures.

Across the UK, the vacancy rate is 9.7% in the South East, 9.5% in the South West, 15.9% in Wales, 10.4% in the East Midlands, 12% in the West Midlands, 15.3% in North East Yorkshire and 7.4% in Scotland.

Jennina O’Neill, chair of Liverpool BID’s retail and leisure board and centre manager at Metquarter, says there are different reasons for Liverpool’s performance.

She said: “Some major brands have moved to Liverpool in the last 12 months, including Decathlon, Flannels, Albert Schloss, Hawksmoor and Gaucho.

“These openings have a positive impact on vacancy rates, but also illustrate investor confidence in the city centre and what it has to offer.

“There has been a widening of choice in terms of the independents offer and this has given areas like Bold Street a greater variety. Where we are seeing change of use, like Next moving from the large unit on Church Street to the one vacated by Forever 21, we are seeing big brands fill those spaces.

“As more leisure moves into spaces alongside retail, we are building that mixed use offer that drives footfall.”