Activity levels in retail and leisure property in July dropped by 46% year-on-year, new research shows.

Activity in the retail and leisure sector dropped by 46% in July - Source:Shutterstock / Lucian Milasan

The figures from the Local Data Company (LDC) show Britain’s vacancy rate increased marginally in July compared to June, from 12.3% to 12.4%.

LDC said this is down to a fall in the number of new units available as well as a drop in the number of new occupiers, with stakeholders delaying major property decisions such as new store openings in the lead-up to the referendum at the end of June.

Matthew Hopkinson, director at LDC said: “July’s numbers are significant when you look at the 12 month view and see what impact the political and consumer volatility has had over the last two months. The net result has been a freeze in normal activity levels which are mirrored in many other areas of the economy.”

But he added: “The marginal [vacancy] increase (0.1%) is not significant especially when one considers the all-time peak of 2012 being 14.6%. The UK ‘high street’ is evolving and does not require saving.

“What it desperately needs is to be understood and have clarity as to what is the most relevant purpose and role for the location, demographic and local economy it serves. Be it Blackburn, Burford or Banbury, they are all very different and at different stages in their evolution. The digital age has accelerated the changes and made the need.