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May 1, 2017

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Double-dip recession leaves British shops vacant: report

LONDON -- Nearly one in seven British shops remained vacant at the end of June as retailers struggled in a double-dip recession, a report from Local Data Company (LDC) said on Tuesday.

The consultancy reported that there had been no improvement in the second quarter from March's UK shop vacancy rate of 14.6 percent, the highest level since June 2008, and that it did not expect the situation to ease any time soon.

Vacancies increased in all regions apart from London over the past 12 months. The rate in the capital fell from 10.7 percent to 10.1 percent.

Retailers have closed poorly performing outlets, while some have gone out of business, hit by the combination of constrained consumer spending, muted wage growth and government austerity measures.

Video games retailer Game went into administration in March, and last week struggling sports goods retailer JJB Sports warned investors that their shares may be worthless.

"Normal service is unlikely to be resumed any time soon as far as retailers are concerned," LDC said. "For the high street, and especially for secondary shopping centers, it is clear that the current high levels of vacancy are likely to remain."

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