Shop owners in Derby are blaming major roadworks in the city centre for keeping shoppers away.
Work on the Inner Ring Road began last September and is not due to finish until late 2007.
Owners of some shops have said they have seen a decline in business because it is easier for many people to get into Nottingham or Burton.
The council insisted the work was an investment in the city's future and any problems are short term.
Judith Hart, who runs a jewellers on the Eagle centre, said: "Whichever direction you come into Derby there seem to be roadworks.
"Footfall in the shop is down and the customers we speak to say it is a pain getting into Derby, parking is difficult and so they are looking for alternatives like Nottingham or Burton."
Chris Wyn, Derby City Council's cabinet member for planning and transportation, said: "We are very much aware of the impact on businesses and doing all we can to minimise it.
"It is a challenging construction project being undertaken in heavy traffic conditions and we ask people to stick with us while we build a better transport network."