Research conducted for the British Property Federation suggests as many as one in five high street shops are empty in the North East. It certainly wasn't hard to find a few when we took a quick trip around Tyneside...
Whitley Bay have tried to make some of their empty shop fronts slightly more pleasing to the eye - this hoarding celebrating Whitley Bay's win in the 2009 FA Vase covers the town's old T & G Allan store.
And these brightly patterned boards hide the old Co-op store.
Nothing is open on this section of the main shopping street in Byker.
And it seems like more shops are empty than occupied on this street in Felling.
Another shop in need of a tenant, this time in Wallsend.
Boarded up windows make for a depressing view, despite the sunny weather.
A shopper walks past one of many vacant stores in Whitley Bay.
It isn't only empty shops that are a problem - lots of pubs have been forced to close during the recession too. There haven't been any takers for the Bay Horse Inn yet - despite so many For Sale signs.
Papered up windows in North Shields. The figure of one in five high street shops empty in the North East is double the national average calculated in the same survey.
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