Figures from the British Retail Consortium found the national vacancy rate reached 10.3 percent in July.
Footfall at town centre stores also plummeted, down 1.9 percent in the worst decline for July since 2012.
BRC chief Helen Dickinson said retailers faced a “challenging environment”.
She said: “High streets and town centres play an important part in our local communities, and we should be concerned by the rise in empty store fronts.”
Ms Dickinson urged the Government to act.
She said: “Retail accounts for 5 percent of the economy, yet pays 10% of all business costs and 25% of all business taxes.”
Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics has revealed more than half of Brits aged 65 and over now shop online.