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The return of more normal retail trading conditions since the summer has seen Shouler & Son recently complete its current portfolio of shop unit instructions and appeal to retail landlords to bring forward any vacant and vacating properties now, ahead of the new year.

The call for more retail units by the Melton Mowbray firm’s commercial property agency comes on the back of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent Autumn Budget Statement (27 October) which, it believes, gives a boost to independent traders.

The flurry of recent retail lettings completions by the firm indicates what its agents describe as a ‘healthy’ uptake in Melton town centre and retail courts who have been bolstered by the town’s gentle increase of footfall since the summer.

In September, with 99,014 town centre visits in the month, footfall was 13.4 per cent up on August’s figure.

Two recent lettings at Bowley Court by Shouler & Son see a zero vacancy rate there for the first time in many years.

This is echoed in Melton’s vacancy rate which dropped from 6.09 per cent in August this year to 5.41 per cent in September - set against the national average of 14.5 per cent. (statistical sources: GEO-Sense Footfall Headline Report September 2021 and the British Retail Consortium)

Measures announced in the recent Budget, such as the halving of business rates for twelve months - up to a maximum of £110,000 - for retail, hospitality and leisure operators, plus no additional business rates for a year following property improvements should also help to foster positive trading trends too.

Helen Vesper-Smith, Partner, Shouler & Son, points to the announcement of the new three year cycle for business rate revaluations from 2023 as also going some way to giving a degree of certainty to retail landlords and occupiers.

She said, “While the retail sector does have its challenges in coming to terms with post-lockdown trading conditions, we are encouraged by our agency experience in Melton.

“The measures announced in last month’s Budget are beginning to bed down with retail operators and should provide the kind of certainty this slice of the commercial property market has not had for the past two years at least.

“It is in this context that we are urging landlords in Melton to look to the future in bringing their retail unit stock to market now.

“Equally, occupiers with new or changing retail requirements in the coming year should be taking action now in in the face of ongoing limited availability of quality stock in desirable locations.”

To discuss retail property vacancies or requirements, contact Helen Vesper-Smith or Ed Danby at Shouler & Son, email,, tel 01664 560181.