Swansea rated as one of the worst performing town centres for empty shops in the UK
SWANSEA has been rated as one of the worst-performing town centres for vacant shops in the UK.
Latest figures from the Local Data Company (LDC) show the city has a shop vacancy rate of 25.3 per cent, which was up 1.7 per cent on the year before.
The city came sixth on a list of 25 ''large town centres'' with the highest number of vacant shops. Stockport topped the list with the most empty retail outlets.
The news comes as administrators continue the hunt for a buyer for troubled chains Blockbuster, HMV and Republic.
Swansea has also, over the course of the past 12 months, seen the departure of chains such as Disney.
Swansea's Business Improvement District (Bid) chief executive Russell Greenslade said: "We have teamed up with property agents, professional services and other companies and organisations to place together a new package aimed at recruiting new and developing business into Swansea city centre.
"Working with others we are trying to be as proactive as possible in recruiting businesses into the city centre."
Matthew Mason heads up the commercial property department of Swansea agent Dawsons, and said: "Unfortunately, the demand in the retail sector at the moment is only really coming from professional financial services, pawnbrokers and money shops.
"Our clients can reduce the rent but they can't reduce it to significant levels because they have got overheads to pay as well.
"I don't think prime retailers see Swansea as desirable."
A Swansea Council spokesman said: "A survey we carried out in December 2012 showed a retail property vacancy rate of 19 per cent.
"This is why we have a city centre action plan to help our traders. This includes schemes like a loyalty card to encourage shoppers into the city centre, the organisation of more city centre-based events and the introduction of more car parking spaces for shoppers.
''We'll soon be heavily investing in our indoor market.
"We're continuing to work alongside our partners in the private sector on a major, retail-led regeneration of the city centre when economic conditions improve."