Newton Abbot's economy is bucking the trend
NEWTON Abbot's town centre economy is bucking the national trend, a new report has revealed.
Footfall and shop vacancy rates in the town are much better than the national picture.
Sally Henley, town development manager, said the health of the high street was good and shoppers had not shunned the local shops as they have in other parts of the country.
Nationally, the number of vacant retail units in town and city centres has actually dropped to 10.9 per cent, down 0.4 per cent from October, 2012.
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But in Newton Abbot, the figure is now 3.9 per cent, making it one of the best towns in South Devon for its buoyant high street.
Mrs Henley said although Newton Abbot had been affected by national trends, 'the picture here is much better than sometimes portrayed'.
She said: "Despite the very high profile closures of national chains such as HMV and Jessops, among others, we have seen positive signs from our local independent retailers and the bigger names on our own high street.
"In fact, January's cold and snow seems to have worked in the favour of high streets and town centres across the country as local people once again appreciated the value of local shops on their doorsteps."
This was backed by figures which show that while out-of-town shopping precincts saw footfall drop by 7.2 per cent in January, town centres only suffered a 3.3 per cent drop.
Mrs Henley said: "Newton Abbot has the more successful national chains that people want and a great range of independent shops. We have a good mix.".
Mrs Henley said the horsemeat scandal has also helped boost the number of shoppers visiting their local butchers.