Christmas worth £13.9 billion to small shop owners

We all know that the Christmas shopping period is big business for retailers, but new research released by American Express reveals just how important it is for the nation’s small shops.

According to data analysis commissioned by American Express and undertaken by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), the value of the Christmas period to small retailers hit £13.9 billion in 2014.

American Express is principal supporter of Small Business Saturday which took place on 5 December and it commissioned the research to highlight the significance of the whole Christmas period to small retailers and the importance of shopping small during the festive season.

With the exception of ‘non-specialised food stores’ such as small supermarkets, all small retailers see a notable uplift in the value of their sales in December relative to other months, as shoppers hit the high street in search of gifts for friends and family.

The ‘other non-food stores’ category, which includes stores selling items such as games, jewellery and books, claims the largest percentage of Christmas sales across all small retailers. In 2014, this category accounted for a third (33 per cent) of total Christmas sales made by small retailers, worth £4.6 billion.  ‘Non-store retailing’, which includes online and mail order, took 16 per cent.

The search for the perfect dress to wear to the office Christmas party also helps drive sales, with small clothing shops experiencing the most dramatic variation in the value of their sales in December relative to the rest of the year. In 2014 December sales of small clothing retailers were worth £459 million, a 110 per cent increase on sales in February, which was their lowest performing month.