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. "
More top news
Fourteen babies in the Border region were born on Saturday, the same day as her Royal Highness, Princess Charlotte.
Gatehouse of Fleet hosts exhibition of German-born architect who received a medal from Edinburgh College of Art this year.
Kendal town council wants to make Kendal the best destination for arts, culture and festivals in the rural North West.