The CLA is again reminding people about the importance of thinking local when buying Christmas presents and produce this year, helping boost the local economy and making for a more pleasurable retail experience.
CLA Midlands regional director Caroline Bedell said: "Every year we encourage people to support their local businesses by buying as much of their Christmas food and gifts from them as possible. This year it is more important than ever given the continuing boom in internet shopping and general economic pressures on the high street."
The Association says that local shops play a vital role in supporting small rural communities and provide much-needed jobs.
"Every pound spent in smaller independent local food outlets supports three times the number of jobs than if it were spent in national grocery chains, so not only will it boost the local economy at a crucial time, but could actually make Christmas shopping much more enjoyable.
"Local shops contribute a great deal to the economic health of our area, but are under threat not just from large supermarkets, but also the boom in internet shopping. A good festive season can help ensure that local businesses survive and maintain vital jobs and services through quieter times of the year.
"I would urge shoppers to avoid the traffic queues, expensive parking and packed pavements, and explore what's on offer in their local farm shop, village store, farmers' market or in our market towns where traditional, independent shops are still plentiful. And while we cannot ignore the lure of the internet, we should remind ourselves that Christmas should be about family, friends and neighbours. It is not a competition to see who can save the most money."