The shop vacancy rates also make for bad reading after a difficult start to the year, which has seen a raft of high-profile retail collapses. Fashion chain Republic was the latest to hit the wall last week, joining other major casualties HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster.
The British Retail Consortium said it was encouraging that, while higher than the 10.3% seen last January, the vacancy rate of 10.9% was lower than the 11.3% recorded in October.
But some regions are particularly badly affected by vacant shops, with the rate now standing at 17% in Wales, 17.2% in Northern Ireland and 10.2% in Scotland.
More top news
Many parts of the UK seeing rain to start the weekend.
Can you guess what film the cow was trying to watch?
New 'smart ticketing' plans will also be introduced so travellers can receive automatic compensation payments for late trains.