18% is far higher than any figure I have ever seen for Battersea. And bears no relationship to reality. That would mean that one in five shops is closed – clearly not true even for Battersea Park Road and High Street. I’m not sure I would rely on the London Data Company’s products as a result, and wonder if they can get many sales when their figures are so far from reality.
We’ve been watching vacancies quite closely during the recession and the figure is more like 6%, not far off a natural churn of shops opening and closing. I’ll confess I’ve been surprised and pleased at how we have escaped with relatively low levels of vacancy, though will add that 100% occupancy alone is not necessarily a good thing (imagine a street full of mobile phone shops).
I suspect they have taken the trick of walking past a few shops and extrapolating those results to the whole area – as you point out you could consider some very diverse areas to be part of Battersea, but you wouldn’t assume that conditions that might result in empty shops at the eastern end of Battersea Park Road would apply to Northcote Road.
Just a look at the Local Data Company’s press page contains links to articles questioning their figures such as Empty shop figures are wrong from Get Bracknell today or Are 23% shops really empty in Hinckley Town Centre? from The Hinckley Times last Friday. It seems there’s a common thread of questioning how they actually count or survey for their figures and the boundaries they use.