From parking prices to online shopping and expensive rates.
Gazette readers have come up with a number of reasons to explain the sudden announcement that High Street clothing giant Burton is closing its South Shields store.
While the company, owned by the Arcadia Group, has declined to give a specific reason, it is believed the King Street branch will shut on Saturday, January 5, after the festive shopping period.
Gazette were quick to come up with their own theories after we revealed the story in Saturday's paper and online.
Janet Burn hinted at South Tyneside Council's parking charges, saying: "Sad to hear but not surprised, parking prices!!
"What do people have in this town to come to. All big names can no longer survive. Metro centre? Free parking."
Yet Terry Kennedy argued: "I wonder how many people who are blaming the council use online shopping?
"The decline of high streets across the country is due to people’s buying habits changing. Like someone has already said, use it or lose it."
Judith Graham said: "you can't blame the council", adding: "The areas that the council have had an input in look great for the long term.
"But the current shops need support to survive if the local community don’t support the current shops but shopping their then yes one by one they will all close."
Doreen Purvis explained: "Burtons is part of the Arcadia group that includes the likes of Dorothy Perkins and Top Shop. They have been suffering a downturn and closing shops all over. Not just South Shields.
Gillian Longstaff wrote: "Shields has lost its spark and don’t think it will ever get it back."
Agnes George said: "Out of town shopping malls and expensive rates/parking charges have killed town centres up and down the country.
"Online shopping has meant people don't need to leave the house to shop. Sad situation."
Mark Pinckney added: "On dear, another one bites the dust. South Shields town centre is finished as a commercial shopping area, due to a multitude of reasons, which include changes in demographics and increased online shopping.
"The proposed £100m master plan won't be enough to reverse decades of decline."