Liverpool BID warns of retail dangers

Although vacancy rates remain below the national average, Liverpool BID Company has said the city could be in a “very different position” in early 2021 if Christmas trading is impacted.

In mid-October, the Liverpool city region was the first in England to enter tier three, the Government’s strictest Covid restriction level, before the whole country was raised to the same level at the start of November.

Although the city centre area has bucked a national trend on rising vacancy rates, seeing its number of empty units in the city centre fall below the national average to 8.4% in October 2020, the BID said that a time of year that sees its levy-payers bring in 30% to 50% of annual revenue is crucial.

According to data from Springboard, vacancy levels in Liverpool’s Retail & Leisure BID area, which encompasses the retail pitch outside of Liverpool ONE, have dropped in the past two years, falling from 12.1% in January 2018. Nationally, vacancy levels have gone the other way, from 8.9% at that time to 11.3% in October 2020.

The wider North West figure has seen its vacancy rate rise to 12.5% from 11.4% two years before.

Other data providers are in broad agreement: according to the Local Data Company’s most recent Retail & Leisure Market Analysis report, issued this month, the national “all vacancy rate” rose to 13% for H1 2020, with the retail-specific figure hitting 14.2%, the highest level since 2012.

Jennina O’Neill, chair of the retail & leisure BID, and centre manager at Metquarter, said: “We’ve seen that Liverpool has bucked the national trend, mainly due to Liverpudlians who have stayed loyal and supported independents. There’s been a positive shift and refocus to shopping locally.

“Businesses across Liverpool have worked hard to ensure that their premises are Covid-safe and this work continues, with a view to retailers across the city being able to reopen on 3r December with extended opening hours to minimise queues, extended return dates and additional click and collect.”

Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, added: “Liverpool has performed strongly in what has been an intensely challenging year. The city went into Tier 3 and a national lockdown in a strong position, but without the vital Christmas period, the story could be very different at the start of 2021.”

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Been said numerous times but if you have high numbers living in your city centres then they help provide custom and footfall in the main shopping areas.
In addition having efficient,reliable ,and comprehensive metropolitan transport networks means others can get into the central areas more speedily.
Therefore we need more high rise and other high volume housing developments in the central area, as well as an improved metro style rail network, plus a tram network in places not accessed by a train station.

By Anonymous

I agree with the comments on density and transport. Our underground trains are very good, but need to be expanded with much better city centre links, particularly to Lime Street (for the Northern Line) and up to KQ, as well as to the airport from South Parkway.

By Liverpolitan

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