Off-licences have seen a 19% decline in numbers over the past year, according to figures to be broadcast in a BBC programme screened on Monday (December 6).
The fall is the biggest recorded in any retail sector and contrasts with a 12% increase in the number of supermarkets and convenience stores.
The data was collected by the Local Data Company on behalf of the BBC’s Inside Out programme and is based on a survey of 500 towns and cities across England, Scotland and Wales.
The off-licence figure is skewed by the collapse of First Quench and does not highlight the growth this has helped create for specialist independent wine merchants. There are thought to be around 600 top-end wine shops now operating in the UK, an all-time high.
The survey found that the Yorkshire and Humber region has the highest shop vacancy rate, at 18.1%. Across the country the number of empty shops is increasing, the research found, although at a slower rate than previously recorded.