Smaller shopping centres bore the brunt of store closures last year, according to a study of vacancies in the retail and leisure sectors. Centres ranked 300 or lower in the Local Data Company’s (LDC) index saw vacancies rise from 19.7% to 19.9%. In contrast, vacancies fell in the UK’s top 50 shopping centres, underlining a significant polarisation, the LDC said. The report also found that niche restaurants are booming, with vegan, Jamaican and South American expanding. The LDC found that the overall vacancy rate last year rose for the first time since it started measuring it. But this was only a marginal 0.2% rise, giving an annual rate of 11.2% – the same as in 2016. It meant that headlines about the “death of the High Street” may be overdone, according to LDC’s senior relationship manager, Lucy Stainton. Read more at BBC News.