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Last Minute Christmas Rush to Bring in $9B

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By Published On: December 18, 20230 Comments

The ARA has said retailers can expect $9 billion in sales in a make-or break festive final week before Christmas.

The pre-Christmas re-forecast by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), in conjunction with Roy Morgan, is slightly up on last year – reaching $67.4 billion (up 1 percent) for the November-December 24 trading period.  

Food shopping has made up $27 billion of the overall spend – up 3.2 percent from 2022.  

The categories of Household Goods (down 3 percent) and Hospitality (down 1.5 percent) are forecasted for a continued softening of spending in the lead up to Christmas as cost-of-living pressures continue to hold. 

With just days until Christmas, the retailer’s association is expecting a further $9 billion sales boost before December 25.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said despite this last minute push, most shoppers got their festive shopping done early this year.

 “November trading by all accounts appears to have been strong, despite cost-of-living pressures, as shoppers capitalised on unprecedented deals and sales to tick off their Christmas lists early, and this has helped prop up our Pre-Christmas projections somewhat,” Mr Zahra said.  

Although the numbers look promising, ARA CEO Paul Zahra warns inflation may be to blame and this last minute Christmas rush may be make-or-break for many discretionary retailers.

“The slight increase in spending this year is being inflated by unavoidable supply chain price increases, particularly in food, and an overall increase in Australia’s population,” Mr Zahra said. “If you exclude these factors, overall Christmas spending is in decline. 

“This makes for a competitive last week before Christmas amongst retailers, as traders compete for a smaller pool of discretionary spend. For most discretionary retailers, up to two-thirds of their profit is made during the all-important Christmas trading period, so December remains a period of uncertainty.  

“This holiday period can be a make-or-break for many discretionary retailers.”  

About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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