The number of vacant shops on the high street has more than doubled in the past year, according to a report, reflecting the savage effects of the recession on retailers.

One in 10 shops in large towns and cities now lies empty – up from 4% in the middle of 2008. Apart from retailers closing shops, the number of premises opening has halved over the past 18 months.

Derby, Blackpool and Leeds are three of the hardest hit places, according to the findings from the Local Data Company.

David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: 'Vibrant town centres are at the heart of prosperous communities. The holes in the high street are knocking confidence.'

Financial Times