CHESTERFIELD: Town in top ten for least shut shops

Stock - Chesterfield Town Centre shoppers
Stock - Chesterfield Town Centre shoppers

With less boarded up shops than affluent Windsor, Chesterfield is one of the UK’s best-performing high streets, a new report claims.

The town’s vacancy rate – which fell from 8.7 per cent last year to 7.7 per cent in 2013 – puts it in the top ten large centres in the country, way below the 13.5 per cent average.

The shop vacancy rates report, published by The Local Data Company, names Chesterfield as one of only three towns north of the Watford Gap listed in the top 25 .

George Cowcher, chief executive of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Chesterfield has got it right in terms of its overall retail mix, which means it can offer something to every type of shopper.”

Cllr John Burrows, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council added: “We could have chosen to bunker down and ride out the recession, but we didn’t. We chose to forge ahead with our marketing plans and this shows in the recent retail figures.”

In the last two years, Chesterfield has seen investment from retailers including Debenhams and TK Maxx, with Hobbycraft and Asda Living set to open this Autumn.

Peter Swallow, chair of Destination Chesterfield said the report is “hugely encouraging” and that the town is becoming a “go-to destination.”

The report’s key findings:

The Local Data Company’s latest report on vacancy rates analysed over 1900 town centres, shopping centres and retail parks for the first half of 2013.

Whilst the shop vacancy rate in the top 650 town centres has remained stable at just above 14.1 per cent, it masks significant differences in performance by location.

The number of empty shops in the top 650 town centres is 22,339, which is the equivalent of 23 Sheffield city centres lying empty.

The worst performing region remains as the North West at 20.1 per cent.

The East Midlands has shown the greatest improvement at -0.4 per cent.