Christmas wrapping paper

The Christmas shopping period is set to be worth a whopping £13.9 billion to small retailers in the UK, according to American Express and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

With the exception of 'non-specialised food stores' such as small supermarket, all small retailers see a notable uplift in the value of their sales in December relative to other months, as shopper hit the high street in search of gifts for their loved ones.

The 'other non-food stores' category, which includes stores selling items like games, jewellery and books, claims the largest percentage of Chritmas sales across all small retailers. In 2014, the category accounted for a third (33%) of total Christmas sales made by small retailers, worth £4.6bn. Food stores made up the second largest sector of small retailers' Christmas sales, with 27% of the total, followed by 'non-store retailing' which includes online and mail order (16%) and household goods (13%).

The search for the perfect dress to wear 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 £459m, a 110% increase on sales in February, which was their lowest performing month.

Duncan Murray, founder of Duncan Murray Wines, said: "Christmas is a key time for us in terms of sales, in the ten days prior to Christmas I would say we make around four months' worth of average monthly sales. It's incredibly busy, yet I make sure my team never compromise their friendly, personal service which I believe is crucial to making the shopping experience a meaningful one."