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Number of shops lying empty drops as City take-up improves

The number of shops lying empty in the UK&rsquo;s prime retail areas has fallen for the first time this year according to property adviser Cushman &amp; Wakefield.<br /><br />Central London has one of the lowest levels of availability as the capital retains its reputation as a shopping destination. <br /><br />But shops in the City have not fared as well, although there are early signs that this is set to improve with a steady take up of surplus space &ndash; such as the new Hawes &amp; Curtis store on Cannon Street.<br /><br />Out of the total number of shops in the UK, 10.3 per cent of shops are now lying empty &ndash; a decline of 2.3 per cent in the three months to 1 November.&nbsp; <br /><br />Of this, 1.8 per cent are empty as a result of firms collapsing into administration.