Shop locally this Christmas and you could bag £25 of goodies for free

FANCY a free stocking filler for the kids? Or a free pint after hitting the shops? Or a free steak for dinner when you get home?

Shop locally this Christmas and you could bag £25 of goodies for free as part of the American Express Shop Small scheme. 

The giveaway, which started yesterday, has twice the number of local high street stores and eateries signed up this year. 

And as part of Britain’s biggest credit card cashback promotion, American Express will refund £5 for every £15 spent in thousands of outlets by cardholders.

Gift shops, clothes stores, mini markets, newsagents, cafes, pubs, restaurants, pharmacies and even pet shops are taking part.

Small Business Saturday yesterday kicked off the promotion, which runs until December 15.

Amex cardholders just need to register on the firm’s website or app, and can then snag the free fiver off up to five times, but each one must be at a different retailer. 

Go to the Amex website to see a map of stores taking part, or search for specific shop names. Or take a stroll round your neighbourhood – those taking part normally have a sign on display. 

Amex run the offer twice a year – also in the summer.

 They offer a few free cards, as well as their fancy ones with fees and perks. Consider applying for the Cashback card, to get money back on your spending and use it when the next Shop Small promo happens. 

The Sun backs spending at small stores as it boosts high streets, the lifeblood of our communities. Thousands of small shops shut permanently due to Covid lockdowns.

And many shoppers are now quitting small town centres for big cities and malls this Christmas in a bid to recapture the metropolitan experience lost in lockdown.

Footfall in cities and malls will be up three times more than in smaller towns in the run-up to the big day.

Figures from employment charity Springboard show a rise of 140 per cent on last year for city centres, versus 47 per cent for smaller towns.

A Springboard spokesman said: “Consumers will seek out the Christmas shopping experience they missed last year in city centres.”

Now tens of thousands of small shops are in financial trouble.

Julie Palmer, partner at insolvency experts Begbies Traynor, said: “Inflation, energy costs and labour availability are risk factors for many businesses.”

The Federation of Small Businesses added: “Our small high street businesses need all the help they can get, so giving shoppers incentives to visit them helps.”

Here, Sun Money tells you how you can boost the coffers of local stores and cash in at the same time — no matter what credit card you have in your pocket.

Shop locally to keep businesses going

NATALIE DEMETRIOU’S Brighton cafe survived lockdowns – and she says shopping local keeps businesses like hers going.

She set up Lost In The Lanes in 2017 but has suffered financial hits over the course of the pandemic.

The cafe helps draw locals and visitors to The Lanes, an area of small independent shops in the coastal city.

Now customers are enjoying £5 cashback on bakery treats and main meals through the American Express Shop Small promotion.

She says: “The challenges have been significant and the survival of many small businesses will come down to people returning to them.

“It’s important for people to shop small. Small businesses are intrinsically linked to their community, so supporting ‘small’ supports us all.”



REGISTER on the website or app to add the Shop Small discount to your card. Check the list of participating shops. Spend £15 and get a £5 statement credit. Valid in five different shops, not online.


  • SMALL shops have sales too, with pre-Christmas price cuts in some local stores, just like in large malls.
  • Bag freebies via small shops’ loyalty schemes – including coffees, ice creams and pizzas.
  • Local fruit-and-veg shops and market stalls are on average around ten per cent cheaper than supermarkets, studies show. Bowls of fruit for £1 are a popular way of saving.
  • Snap up charity shop gift deals for Christmas presents. Buying pre-loved products prevents waste and young children will not care whether a present is a second-hand bargain or an expensive, brand-new product.
  • Dodge delivery charges. Remember, shopping in store avoids the courier fees that come with online shopping.
  • Get a cashback credit card. Some American Express cards offer up to five per cent back for the first three months. The Lloyds Bank Mastercard offers up to 0.5 per cent cashback.
  • Some banks offer customers cashback in small shop chains. Log into Halifax’s website or app and add the deal to your card before spending.

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