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Australia’s late, great Christmas spending spree

Chadstone Christmas shopping
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Australians are expected to spend more than $1.2 billion on Christmas Eve in a last-minute shopping frenzy, according to the Australian National Retailer’s Association.

Shoppers in New South Wales were expected to spend $465 million, while Victorians will spend about $240 million.

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National Australia Bank executive general manager of consumer lending Angus Gilfillan said shopping for the entire Christmas period would peak at lunchtime on Tuesday.

“Our analysis shows customers will be shopping at a rate of close to 250 transactions per second, which would be the highest peak rate we’ve ever recorded,” Mr Gilfillan said.

“In five out of the past six years the highest rate of transactions during Christmas has occurred between 12:15pm and 1:00pm – so don’t count on getting all your shopping done during your lunch-time break.”

Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market was mayhem on Wednesday morning, with thousands of shoppers crowding the market in search of Christmas fare like fresh prawns at 6.15am.

One Twitter user lamented that she didn’t get to the market earlier.

According to the Australian Retailers Association, perfume, women’s dresses and outdoor leisure equipment like barbecues have been the best selling items this year.

Between November 15 and Christmas Eve, the ARA predicts Australians will spend $45 billion, with food the biggest item at $18 billion.

Shopping centres have been operating around the clock for last-minute gift-hunting, with Chadstone in Melbourne and Parramatta Westfield in Sydney both doing a 32-hour trade.

According to The Today Show, there were still 10,000 people shopping at Chadstone at 2am.

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