Shop vacancy rates stabilised in 2011 but the gap between the best and worst performing towns widened.

The figures, which come from the Local Data Company’s latest Shop Vacany report, ‘The good, the bad and the (very) ugly’, show that 14.5% of shops remain vacant.

The report highlights the divide between north and south.  All southern regions have an average vacancy rate at 11% or below while the Midlands and North range from just under 13% in the East Midlands to 16% in the North West.

The top ten worst-performing large centres are in the West Midlands and the North while seven out of the top ten best large centres are in the South.

Medium sized retail centres fare better than larger ones with medium schemes vacancy rates averaging 14% compared to 17% in their larger counterparts.