Angus and Fife town centres are among those worst hit by the “blight” of shops lying empty and unused, according to a report.
Angus, Fife and Dundee are all among the seven council areas in Scotland with more vacant retail properties than the national average of one in 10.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) paper Transforming Towns reveals Angus is hardest hit, with 15% of shops lying empty and unlet, closely followed by Fife and Dundee.
The report reveals town centres across the region are reeling from waves of closures, with at least 54 recorded since 2016.
The FSB is calling for a raft of measures to bolster town centres, including £90 million per year in new investment, a government commission to investigate “the blight” of vacant shops and for banks to set up shared hubs.
Angus has already been allocated £1.08m and Fife £4.35m from the Scottish Government’s £50m Town Centre Fund for 2019-20.
Bruce Robertson, of Angus Business and Retailers Association, welcomed the report, but said action is required now to stop the situation from sliding further.
He said: “It is encouraging, but it is all very well talking about what is possible when little action seems to come from it.”