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Shop surveys show positive signs

Shop surveys show positive signs

Monday 06 February 2023

Shop surveys show positive signs

Monday 06 February 2023

Two recent surveys of empty shops in Guernsey appear to show that the retail sector is "performing well" with fewer empty buildings than the last time they were counted.

Former Deputy Mary Lowe has monitored the number of empty shops in town for many years and she said her most recent survey proved the number of vacant premises is at the lowest level for more than a decade.

There were 34 empty shops in St Peter Port, including around the High Street, Market, and Mill Street areas, when Mrs Lowe checked at the end of January.

Her findings have been echoed by the Guernsey Retail Group which also says shop occupancy remains high with a vacancy rate of 8.3% across the island.

Korinne Le Page, Head of Retail Development at the GRG, said that is almost 5% lower than this time last year and that it compares very favourably with the retail sector in the UK.

"We collect data at the end of each quarter which is broken down into streets and benchmarked with the most recent, equivalent statistics published in the UK by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The BRC has confirmed that UK shop vacancies at the end of Q4 of 2022 were running at 13.8%, just 0.1% lower than in the previous quarter.

"By comparison, the Bridge is showing a vacancy rate of 11.6%, so still lower than the UK and expected to improve in Q1 of 2023 with businesses moving into existing empty premises. This is tremendous news and illustrates the sector to be at a considerably healthier level compared to its equivalent on the mainland."

Ms Le Page said the comparative buoyancy in retail locally could be down to the joint working between the GRG, landlords and businesses to find short to medium-term rental opportunities for new and established retailers, along with other initiatives. 

"As far as Guernsey is concerned, the return of tourist numbers in 2022 – cruise ship passengers and the longer stay visitors through the harbour and airport – has   provided a welcome boost to the local retail economy, not just in Town, but across the island," she said.

"The increase in day trips from the UK being offered by Condor has also helped to increase footfall. These trends are expected to continue in 2023 with cruise ship numbers returning to pre-pandemic levels.

"As an industry, we are committed to continue offering choice, availability, service and value for money for all consumers and to encourage Islanders to buy locally."

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