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Good news as town bucks trading trend
9:00am Tuesday 11th September 2012 in News
SHOP trade in Malvern is in the pink as new figures show it bucking the national trend with one of the lowest levels of empty premises in the entire country.
Just nine of 146 retail units in the town centre are vacant at present, a total of just 6.2 per cent, compared with a vacancy rate of 18.5 per cent across the West Midlands.
Malvern’s numbers are also far lower than the national rate, reported as 14.6 per cent, in a study published by the Local Data Company this week.
The picture could soon improve further, with Councillor Phil Grove, Malvern Hills District Council’s portfolio holder for economic development, already aware of imminent plans for five of the existing vacancies.
“The level of occupied retail units in Malvern is currently very good and some of the highest occupancy levels the town has seen for a number of years,” he said.
“Any town needs some vacant retail units to allow for businesses to expand or contract and move in and out.”
He feels Malvern’s strength lies in the diversity of its retail offering.
“Malvern is not a clone town and needs to play to its strengths.
“It has a good selection of quality independent retailers and an improving food and drink offer which is attracting both residents and visitors to the town centre.”
Chris Marks, Great Malvern Association of Traders chairman, called the figures “very heartening”.As a town we are incredibly fortunate,” he said. “When shops do become vacant here they don’t tend to stay so for very long, and most tend to be independent businesses, which just adds even greater variety to the town.
“We are very proud of the town and its offering and it is great that people are looking at Malvern as somewhere they can do business.”
Mr Marks attended a conference this week with representatives from town centres all over the country.
“Talking to them you realise just how lucky you are. The problems we have are challenging but we are in a much better position than an awful lot of towns out there,” he said.