Small retailers in the north east of England have the most negative business outlook in the country.

A survey of 1,100 retailers with four or fewer stores and 25 or fewer staff found that 30% of those in the north east were "disillusioned survivors" - retailers who were not confident about the future and would be happy to leave the world of retail. In contrast, just 14% of retailers in the region were classed as "optimistic succeeders" - retailers who found business tough but were optimistic about the future.

In contrast, retailers in the south west were the most optimistic, with just 8% judged to be disillusioned survivors and 33% optimistic succeeders.

"Aside from extension to the Metro Centre in Gateshead and some other city centre areas, retail growth has been modest in the north east, and these figures could be a reflection of that fact," said Ian Wheeler, research manager for Skillsmart Retail, which conducted the research.