A 22-year-old was attacked by four people after he took a shortcut through an alleyway to the Nisa store near Pinkie Terrace, Musselburgh, on Monday night at around 8pm.
The victim struggled and managed to run off before contacting police.
The suspects are all believed to be between 30 and 40.
One of the men was around 6ft with a slim build and spoke with a local accent. He wore a dark blue cotton tracksuit with a hood, has short brown hair, is believed to have a scar under his right eye and has either stubble or a pockmarked face.
The second man is around 5ft 10in with a medium build and wore an Adidas style hooded top, grey Adidas cotton bottoms with white stripes and dark trainers.
One of the women had a medium build, while the victim could not provide a description of the other female suspect.
Constable Gemma Gill-Stafford said: “Fortunately the victim did not sustain any injury although he was left shaken by the incident.
“We are now carrying out various enquiries and are keen to trace the four individuals who were seen in the area.
“I would ask anyone who can help identify these individuals or if you saw this incident to please contact police immediately.”
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or alternatively Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.