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Number of empty shops among country's highest

Staffordshire | News | Published:

High streets in the Black Country have some of the largest number of empty shops in the country, new figures revealed today.

High streets in the Black Country have some of the largest number of empty shops in the country, new figures revealed today.

The number of units lying vacant has got worse in the last year, with Dudley and West Bromwich the two worst in England for medium-sized towns with 29 per cent and 28 per cent of shops empty respectively.

Wolverhampton and Walsall are fifth and seventh in the top 10 large towns and cities with 27.3 per cent and 26.9 per cent of shops vacant.

The average for the West Midlands is 16 per cent according to the Local Data Company.

High streets in Staffordshire are faring better.

But the Black Country occupies four out of five of the worst performing centres in the West Midlands, with Stoke-on-Trent at number five.

The figures released today by LDC come as the Government is trying to revive the high street with the help of shopping guru Mary Portas.

Out of town shopping centres are also contributing to the decline.

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Walsall has around 100 unoccupied shops in the town centre.

River Island is leaving to move to Crown Wharf Retail Park. In Wolverhampton last summer fashion retailer TK Maxx moved out of the city to Bentley Bridge.

The city's vacancy rate has previously been blamed on the long delay then scrapping of the £300 million Summer Row scheme.

City centre company WV One said today it had more up to date figures than those supplied by LDC that showed the vacancy rate had fallen.

Director Kim Gilmour said: "We are not complacent and we have seen a number of shops close in January and know of a few more on the cards. ""The majority of Wolverhampton's shop openings have been in the independent sector but these businesses too are vulnerable to consumer confidence."

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