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WOOLIES SHOPS ARE TOUGH SELL; More than 80 per cent of Scots stores still empty.

MORE than eight in 10 former Woolworths stores in Scotland are still empty - six months after the retail chain went bust.

In a report out yesterday, the Local Data Company said 66 of the country's 82 shop sites are still vacant.

Across the UK, 560 of the 807 ex-Woolworths stores have still not been taken over by other retailers - 69 per cent of the total.

And of the 247 stores that have been taken on, the research shows most are now discount stores.

Woolworths' administrators Deloitte have struck a number of deals to sell on stores.

The largest has been the sale of around 50 stores to frozen food giants Iceland in January.

The research found that Bargain Madness have 31 stores, Home Bargains have eight, Poundland have 10 and 99p stores have 21.

Heron Frozen Foods and Carpetright have each taken 11 shops.

The report said that only a handful have been taken by mainstream high street stores, such as WH Smith, Tesco Express and Waitrose.

Hole Rob Alston, retail partner at property specialists Cushman & Wakefield, believes the demise of Woolworths has compounded UK high street trading woes.

He said: "Virtually every town in the country has been affected by the Woolworths effect.

"While a substantial number of other units have either been let or are currently under offer via the landlords, there is still a huge hole in many towns throughout the UK."

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NO SALE: Vacant store
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 14, 2009
Words:241
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