The Local Data Company’s latest report on vacancy rates highlights a marked improvement towards the end of 2014, from their peak of 14.6% in February 2012 to reaching below 13.5% (13.4% in May 2014) for the first time since June 2010.

However, the North/South divide evidenced in previous reports is still clear, with southern centres seeing a vacancy rates improve by around 9% whilst centres in the North and Midlands have seen just a 3% improvement.

The North West continues to be the worst region for all (retail and leisure) vacancy at 16.9%, but has shown improvement of 0.4%, whilst the North East is the only region to have shown a decline in its fortunes with an increase in vacancy rate by 0.4% to 16.4%.

Of the top 10 worst town centres for vacant retail and leisure premises, all of which are above 23%, six are in the North East or North West. Conversely, of the top 10 best-performing town centres with the least vacant units, seven are in Greater London and the South East.

The report, entitled Not All Boats Rise On The Tide, analyses over 3000 town centres, shopping centres and retail parks visited in the last 12 months, and analyses both shop and leisure vacancy rates in the first half of 2014. Access it here.