RETAILERS are still keen to set up shop in Huddersfield, it was said today.
Latest figures show a fall in the number of empty town centre premises over the past 12 months.
And Kirklees Council officials said several empty "prime site" premises were the subject of talks with would-be tenants.
Steve Morton, of the council's Huddersfield town centre regeneration team, said 91 out of 750 units inside the ring road were empty in June - 22% down on the figure for the same month last year.
That represents a vacancy rate of 12.5%, as against a national average of about 12%. But only 7.8% of total floorspace was empty.
Mr Morton said: "You would expect the vacancy rate to be higher, considering the big increase in total floorspace with the opening of Kingsgate."
He said negotiations were being held on several shop units on New Street, part of the prime shopping area.
He said New Street was starting to recover from the arrival of Kingsgate, which drew away retailers such as Dixons and Next.
Retailer Monsoon has opened on New Street and hair salon supply specialist Sally Hair and Beauty Supplies is set to open shortly.
Mr Morton said the presence of major retailer Marks & Spencer on New Street remained a strong plus factor in attracting other traders.
He added: "M&S is regarded in the retail world as a strong `anchor'."
Mr Morton went on: "We still have substantial unsatisfied demand for town centre sites - despite the arrival of Kingsgate.
"I am quite positive about Huddersfield at the moment.
"The town is vibrant, it is attracting more visitors and our surveys of shoppers suggest people like the town centre environment," said Mr Morton.