Business leaders in the Borders have held, what have been described as 'important talks' with the council after a survey showed shoppers are staying away from eight Borders towns.
There's been a 17% drop in the numbers over the last four years.
Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce says more can be done to boost local high streets.
James Aitken from SBCC told ITV Border:
'If you walk into any shop in the Borders it is an issue right across the board. That's why we are such supporters of the borders railway and broadband being improved. Business rates are a huge issue. We would ask the council to look at that again and see what help they can give. "
Bagpipes and traditional dancing outside new Debenhams in Dumfries which opened this morning. 55 jobs have been created at the store, which is in the old TJ Hughes building. It's hoped it could be good for the town centre, which has 54 empty shop units.