Retail vacancy rates rose another 15% this summer in Buenos Aires, as a combination of double-digit inflation, higher rents and unlicensed street vendors sapped the strength of calles comerciales.

A new report from the Argentina Retail Chamber (CAC) says the number of retail vacancies observed during the first two months of 2015 reached 324 or 15% more vacancies than before the summer began. Another report from LJRamos found that the number of retail vacancies in Capital Federal rose 117% from 130 in 2013 to 282 in 2014.

Store owners consulted by Clarin blamed high inflation for the drop in consumer demand, as well as the increase in rents, utilities and other expenses.

The CAC also points to the proliferation of unlicensed street vendors throughout Buenos Aires. A CAME small business chamber report says the unlicensed sale of merchandise on BA streets broke all records in December 2014 with 7,073 vendors clustered in 120 retail saladitas.

According to the CAC, the number of retail vacancies rose from 17 to 23 on Avenida Cordoba, from 11 to 13 on Calle Florida, from 21 to 30 on Avenida Pueyrredon, from 20 to 22 on Avenida Cabildo in Belgrano, from 61 to 66 on Rivadavia and from 37 to 51 along Avenida Santa Fe. The only area where retail vacancies actually fell was along Avenida Corrientes. (Full Story in Spanish)

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