Sales of local food and drink products through convenience stores are expected to shine this Christmas, despite the gloomy economic situation.

Kent retailer John Maxwell Jones said that local products for gifting purposes would “form the main thrust” of his festive offer at his Burgess Stores in Goudhurst.

“We’ve almost 50 local food and drink lines in stock, including preserves, confectionery and ales as well as non-food products like cards by local artists. These items make perfect gifts, and with margins of more than 25% they’re a real present for us too.”

In Devon, Whitstone Stores owner Dan Cock is expecting local goods to account for more than 30% of his Christmas business thanks to his range of local meats.

“We sell fresh local turkeys and hams, as well as decorations such as holly wreaths. Last year I sold more than 30 local turkeys and I’m expecting even more this year thanks to some adverts that I’ve placed in the local paper.

“As independents, we’ve got to play up to local at this time of year. No matter how hard they try, the multiples just can’t do it as well as us,” he said.

Alison Macklin, manager of the Brockweir and Hewelsfield Village Shop, which recently scooped the Best Local Food Retailer award in the prestigious BBC Food and Farming Awards, added: “Our shoppers are keen to buy local all year round, but particularly at Christmas.”