Almost 12,000 shops and 7,000 branches of major chains closed this year

Nearly12,000 independent shops and 7,000 branches of major chains have closed so far this year in England and Wales, leaving thousands of people jobless, a survey has found.

The Local Data Company (LDC) identified Margate in Kent as the worst-hit town, with an average retail vacancy rate of 25%. Cities in the north of England, such as Leeds and Liverpool, also have rates of more than 20%.

The collapse of retailer Woolworths has had a major impact on high streets, with about 70% of its 800-plus shops still lying empty, LDC added in the report on the BBC website.

Northern England and the Midlands generally fared the worst, according to the report.

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