By Aimee Chanthadavong

Retailers are expected to see signs of improved consumer confidence when an estimated $42.1 billion is predicted to go through retail tills from 14 November to 25 December, according to Australian Retailer Association research partner Roy Morgan Research.

This number will represent a 3.3 per cent increase on sales during the same period last year, which recorded $40.7 billion.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said this is in an indication shoppers will start their Christmas shopping a little earlier this year, rather than leaving it until late December.

“We also know that the week before Christmas will remain the busiest time for pre-Christmas shopping, and therefore the most lucrative time for retailers,” he said.

“The ARA is pushing for an interest rate cut in December as retailers are counting on the lead up to Christmas as an opportunity to catch up on past slower retail sales and get back on track financially.

“With 6.2 per cent predicted growth, apparel sales indicate an increase in consumer confidence for the Christmas period. 

“Much like 2012, food and hospitality are expected to account for a significant per cent of the overall projected figure, while other categories such as department stores and clothing, footwear and personal accessories may rely on last minute Christmas sales and promotions for any significant growth in sales.

“It is encouraging to see all states and territories likely to experience positive growth for the 2013 pre-Christmas shopping period. Tasmania was the only state facing negative growth in 2012, so it is promising to see Tasmania predicted to flourish alongside the other states and territories this year.”