Only over half of retail outlets in Britain’s top 100 towns are secure, according to a new report.

The Retail Risk Report, produced by BNP Paribas Real Estate, revealed that 10% of shop units in the same areas were said to be at very high risk of collapse or closure. This was due to current tenants not covering basic operational costs.

The Report also revealed the country’s top 10 most secure and most at-risk locations, based on the financial performance of multiple retailers, in addition to proportions of vacant units and charity shops operating in the area.

Cities that could hit problems included Bradford, Derby, Wolverhampton, Southampton, Hull, Sheffield, Swindon, Warrington, Stockport and Nottingham.

The places with the least amount of worries were Lewisham, Wood Green, Uxbridge, Harrow, Truro, Sutton, Colchester, Inverness, Peterborough and Southampton.

Paul Griffiths, head of investment at BNP Paribas Real Estate, said: “With transformational changes taking place in the retail sector means investors now have to think differently about the way they assess risk. Our report challenges traditional thinking and there are some unusual results, backed up by detailed assessment of all the factors.

“Furthermore, while we have identified locations that pose the greatest risk overall to investors, even in the most at-risk towns there are thriving areas, usually forming the prime and most dominant part of the wider retail offer. So there are clear investment opportunities in each of the top 100 towns we’ve assessed – if you know where to look.”

Other statistics in the report included the reduction in average lease lengths, from 10.3 years to 5.7 years, while information from the Local Data Company revealed that the total number of shops vacant at the end of 2011 was 23,400. This represented 14.3% of total retail stock.