The UK retail sector has faced significant turmoil over the last 18 months as businesses were forced to close up shop because of the governments coronavirus restrictions.
The vacancy rate figures from the British Retail Consortium and Local Data Company showed that 14.1 per cent of shops in the UK were vacant at the end of Q1 2021, up from 13.7 per cent in the final quarter of 2020.
However, the emerging pattern of increasing vacancy rates in the UK has not been replicated in Farnham. The vacancy rate in Farnham was 11.8 per cent, which represents the second consecutive quarter of falling vacancies. This vacancy rate is well below the national average of 14.1 per cent.
Several lettings have occurred since the turn of the year, including the letting of the Grade II listed building 6 The Borough in June, with several further units currently vacant but under offer. 6 The Borough has been taken over by the hair and beauty company Salon Cabelo. Next door, Gin & Chocolate have also taken a vacant unit off the market, and we have recently seen 24 Lion & Lamb Yard taken over by the appropriately named The Lion & The Bear.
This is partly down to the attractiveness of Farnham to independent retailers, with lower rents than its main competitors such as Guildford, whilst still retaining its charm as a historic market town.
Alex Blown of Curchod & Co said “After a series of national lockdowns imposed by the government it is no surprise that the national vacancy rate has continued to increase, but it’s certainly a welcome piece of good news that Farnham is fairing well in light of the difficult circumstances faced by retailers over the past 18 months. With several units also currently under offer this trend is showing no signs of slowing down”.