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    Shoppers In $ 8 b Spend In Early December

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    Australian shoppers are set to spend a record amount at the stores this month, having already splashed out billions of dollars in the lead-up to .

    The Cashcard activity index, which measures , EFTPOS, credit card and cheque transaction activity, showed that shoppers spent $8.5 billion in the first 12 days of December.

    Australian Retailers Association spokesperson Duncan Shaw said retail spending is expected to “go ballistic” in the remaining days before Christmas.

    “We’re predicting the Christmas spend, which is from mid November through to Christmas Eve, will be $33.3 billion,” he said.

    Mr. Shaw said such a result would be a 5.9 per cent increase over last year.

    Cashcard results for December last year showed that retail spending hit a record of just over $22 billion unadjusted, or $17.4 billion seasonally adjusted.

    Australians last year spent $8.9 billion in the first 13 days of the month.

    Cashcard said it expected sales to climb higher as Christmas Day drew closer.

    senior economist Anthony Thompson said a record spend this Christmas would not be surprising.

    The Westpac/Melbourne Institute index of consumer sentiment rose by 11.8 per cent this month to 106.2 points indicating more people had a positive outlook than negative.

    Mr. Thompson said retail spending was well supported by a number of positive economic conditions, including the low unemployment rate, which has held at a 30-year low at 4.6 per cent.