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Swansea rated as one of the worst performing town centres for empty shops in the UK

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 19, 2013

By rupert hall

  • Some of the boarded-up shops in the city centre.

  • Some of the boarded-up shops in the city centre.

  • Some of the boarded-up shops in the city centre.

  • Some of the boarded-up shops in the city centre.

Comments (4)

SWANSEA has been rated as one of the worst-performing town centres for vacant shops in the UK.

Latest figures from the Local Data Company (LDC) show the city has a shop vacancy rate of 25.3 per cent, which was up 1.7 per cent on the year before.

The city came sixth on a list of 25 ''large town centres'' with the highest number of vacant shops. Stockport topped the list with the most empty retail outlets.

The news comes as administrators continue the hunt for a buyer for troubled chains Blockbuster, HMV and Republic.

Swansea has also, over the course of the past 12 months, seen the departure of chains such as Disney.

Swansea's Business Improvement District (Bid) chief executive Russell Greenslade said: "We have teamed up with property agents, professional services and other companies and organisations to place together a new package aimed at recruiting new and developing business into Swansea city centre.

"Working with others we are trying to be as proactive as possible in recruiting businesses into the city centre."

Matthew Mason heads up the commercial property department of Swansea agent Dawsons, and said: "Unfortunately, the demand in the retail sector at the moment is only really coming from professional financial services, pawnbrokers and money shops.

"Our clients can reduce the rent but they can't reduce it to significant levels because they have got overheads to pay as well.

"I don't think prime retailers see Swansea as desirable."

A Swansea Council spokesman said: "A survey we carried out in December 2012 showed a retail property vacancy rate of 19 per cent.

"This is why we have a city centre action plan to help our traders. This includes schemes like a loyalty card to encourage shoppers into the city centre, the organisation of more city centre-based events and the introduction of more car parking spaces for shoppers.

''We'll soon be heavily investing in our indoor market.

"We're continuing to work alongside our partners in the private sector on a major, retail-led regeneration of the city centre when economic conditions improve."

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4 comments

  • immigrant1  |  March 01 2013, 3:31PM

    The main problem is that rent and rates are too high. If there is a lack of demand, then rent and rates should come down. Swansea City Council would prefer to bury it's head in the sand. All these units could be rented out if the rents and rates were at market levels. They are way over the top at the moment.

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  • pyreneo04  |  February 26 2013, 4:50PM

    This has been a trend for decades! Major cities such as Cardiff perform well commercially, whereas their satellite towns like Swansea can't compete because major retailers don't see the point in having multiple branches so close together. What the smaller towns need to offer is originality and diversity, and I don't mean pound shops.

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  • John_on_Gower  |  February 20 2013, 9:29AM

    mkneath, totally agree with your comments. Although this is a difficult economic time for all, with all the out of town shops (and free parking), its obvious Swansea city centre will be one of the worst performing in the UK. One thing I don't understand is why the council are spending millions on upgrading mumbles road (tree planting etc) when that money needs to be spent on the centre. At least all the people with money living in west swansea will have nice flowers and trees to look at on their way to shopping in Cardiff.

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  • mkneath  |  February 19 2013, 5:43PM

    Not surprised when you consider all the out-of-town shopping centres such as Trostre, Morfa and Fforestfach with free parking and most of the same shops! There has been a long trend of lack of investment in the city and I feel it is as a direct result of the prolonged and imbalanced investment in Cardiff. There is more to Wales than just one place and there is a lot more needed to bring Swansea back on parity with other similar sized cities throughout the UK. So Swansea city council need to pull there finger out, stop with all the out of town shops and hurry up and get a decent shopping centre finished! One that we can be proud of. And stop plastering advertising boards around the city advertising shopping breaks to Bristol and Cardiff.

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