Shoppers are expected to spend $41.2 billion on goods this Christmas from 14 November until 25 Decembers, the Australian Retailers Association predicts.

The Christmas sales predictions, which are prepared by Roy Morgan Research, shows the figure represents a 3.9 per cent steady gain on sales during the same period last year, which ended up coming in at $39.7 billion.

ARA executive Director Russell Zimmerman said retailers could count on some steady improvement in retail sales for the festive season.

 “While we by no means expect shoppers to be beating down the doors to go Christmas shopping, especially in the early stages, the figures represent growth which will see retailers hear some rings of their tills and gift recipients will certainly find presents under the tree,” he said.

“Retailers are holding their collective breath for another interest rate cut in December, as they know this may give consumers the incentive they need to go out and get some of the Christmas shopping done in early December as well as the usual late December rush.

“We can clearly see some categories such as food and hospitality buoying up the projected figures, whereas categories which rely heavily on Christmas time sales such as apparel and department stores are posting less growth, which is a sign consumers still need relief.”

In 2011, the ARA predicted sales would be $39.5 billion in the lead up to Christmas, and the actual figure came in at $39.7 billion, so it’s expected predictions by the ARA will be just as accurate this year as it has been in the past.

“Roy Morgan’s retail business confidence measure has steadily improved after a midyear downturn and is now tracking for the last six months better than the same period last year in a good indication retailers are more confident in the approach to this year’s Christmas season,” Zimmerman said.