The number of empty high street shops is set to soar to between 8% and 9.5% of the total over the next few years, according to research agency Locatus.
Currently, 14,000 shop premises are empty, 6.5% of the total.
The main causes are the economic crisis and the aging population, but increasing internet sales and drop in population are also playing a part.
The province of Limburg is particularly badly hit through a loss of German custom. In some towns, such as Geleen, Kerkrade and Heerlen, 20% of high street shops are empty.
This is because goods which used to be cheaper just over the border in the Netherlands now show very little difference for German customers, Locatus said.
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