THE number of shops which are empty in Hereford city has dropped below the national average.

The Hereford Business Improvement District (HBID) said that the vacancy rate within the city centre now stands at 9.1 per cent, compared to the start of 2016 when it was 12.7 per cent.

This means the number of empty shops now stand at 44, which is a 27 per cent drop since HBID began counting at the start of the year.

The national average of empty shops is 12.3 per cent.

Mike Truelove, operations manager for HBID, said: “This is absolute proof of the firm endorsement Hereford is receiving as the popular destination it has become – not just for shopping but leisure too, including eating out and socialising at the 100+ restaurant, bars and cafes.”

“We have an ever growing day and night time economy.”