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Christmas shoppers to spend $48.1 billion

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016 Sarah McPhee

Australian shoppers are expected to empty their wallets of more than $48.1 billion to fill stomachs and stockings this Christmas.

The Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan Research figures for silly season trade, from November 15 to December 24, predict at least 40 per cent of pre-Christmas sales will be on food.

Almost $15.5 billion of purchases are expected to pass through NSW checkouts alone.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman says this year's nationwide spending will top 2015 Christmas sales by 2.3 per cent, or more than $1 billion.

He said a predicted downturn of -0.1 per cent for department stores appeared to reflect trading difficulties experienced by Target and Big W.

The department retailers this year announced a number of restructure plans including store closures.

"On the other end of the spectrum, it is encouraging to see a 5.7 per cent growth rate predicted for the hospitality category, a strong uptick as Australians are expected to ramp up patronage to restaurants, bars and fast-food retailers in the festive season," Mr Zimmerman said in a statement on Friday.

Despite there being 43 days left to the hit the shops, most Aussies are expected to make a last minute dash to the shelves, with the week before December 25 expected to remain the biggest shopping period of the year.

CHRISTMAS SPENDING PREDICTIONS PER STATE/ TERRITORY

* NSW: $15.499 billion, up 3 per cent

* VIC: $12.038 billion, up 2 per cent

* QLD: $9.732 billion, up 2.6 per cent

* SA: $3.154 billion, up 3.7 per cent

* WA: $5.342 billion, no growth

* TAS: $952 million, up 2.8 per cent

* NT: $494 million, up 0.2 per cent

* ACT: $870 million, up 2.7 per cent

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