The hold-ups happened in the Castlereagh Road area on the evening of Tuesday 16th December.
Detectives Inspector Michelle Griffin said: “Between 5.45pm and 6.15pm, three robberies were carried out at two shops on the Castlereagh Road and one in My Lady’s Road.
“On each occasion, a man described as being around 5’7” tall with a swarthy complexion and carrying a knife, threatened staff members.
“Cigarettes and cash were taken as a result of the robberies. There were no reports of any injuries to staff members.
“An attempt to rob a shop on the Woodstock Road by a man matching this description was also reported to police.
“I would appeal for anyone who was in the area at the time of the robberies and who saw a man matching this description or who has any information which would assist officers with their enquiries to contact CID at Musgrave on 101.
“Information can also be passed anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”