The day before yesterday I think, my daughter asked me where we were going and since I was not planning to do the weekly shopping on that day and I just wanted to buy some stuff from two stores, I said offhand we are going to the shops! Looking back, it seems when I don't find a NAmE word I turn to UK if I know of.

*So what do you say when:*

1. go shopping (it's just go shopping!)
2. you go to buy something specific; I mean you're not going shopping, and it's usually found in any store. You don't have to shop around.
3. you want to buy non grocery or clothing stuff, maybe a can of paint and a spare part for your car together. 

I have found some kind of answer for this question on [this page][1], but I prefer to get a clear answer to my points above, and also if you agree with this native speaker about using store in singular form not plural:

> Just as a side note, we don't use the plural in American English. "I'm
> going to the store" (even if I may visit several stores), not "I'm
> going to the stores". (If we know we are going to several stores I
> think it would be more likely to say "I'm going shopping" or even "I'm
> going downtown" in smaller towns.)


  [1]: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1110263