As an indication of the state of the economy the British high street is at one of its lowest ever levels, with one in ten shops and retail units standing empty.
The news about the depressed state of the U.K.'s shopping streets and malls comes from a report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The number of empty properties is at the highest level since the BRC began undertaking the survey fifteen years ago.
According to the BBC, whilst the U.K. as a whole averages at 11.3%, in terms of empty shops, the figures vary. The highest level of empty properties is in Northern Ireland where some 20% of shops stand empty. The next highest areas are Wales and the North and Yorkshire, where each has around 15% of retail premises lying empty.
2012 has been a poor year for retail in the U.K. There have been several high profile retail failures, including sportswear group JJB Sports, outdoor goods group Blacks Leisure, video games retailer Game, electrical firm Comet, and greetings card firm Clinton Cards.
Discussing the findings, Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC is quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying: "This new high in empty shop numbers really sets alarm bells ringing. It confirms that financial challenges for both customers and retailers are far from over."