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Shops brace for festive bonanza
Shops brace for festive bonanza

Almost half a million West Australians will go looking for a Christmas present this weekend, with many of them increasingly upbeat about the year ahead.

Figures compiled by the Commonwealth Bank suggest this weekend will be the busiest of the year as people rush to get their Christmas shopping done.

About 450,000 West Australians will join another four million shoppers in hitting the nation's malls and retail hotspots looking for a bargain or special gift.

West Australians will be among the biggest spenders over these days, tipped to shell out $824 million - or $482 per person - on Christmas gifts alone.

Another $548 million will go on Christmas holidays, $238 million on Boxing Day sales, $177 million on entertaining friends at home, plus another $105 million on extra food.

West Australians are expected to spend $1107 per person to celebrate Christmas.

The Commonwealth's Adam Bennett said businesses had to be ready for the shopping onslaught about to descend.

"While millions of consumers are planning to spend big this weekend, businesses should also note the expected spending rush before and after Christmas as consumers snap up last-minute gifts and bargains in the sales," he said. A Curtin Business School study, to be released today, shows a newfound optimism among WA shoppers.

Of the 404 people studied, 48 per cent expected the economy to improve in the next year, compared with 27 per cent in September.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA chief economist John Nicolaou said the study indicated a potential turnaround in consumer confidence that had been driven to record lows because of economic certainty and political instability. "The fundamentals of our economy remain sound, with low interest rates, rising incomes, strong population growth and low unemployment," he said.

Of the people surveyed, 57 per cent of shoppers said they expected to spend the same as last year this Christmas.

Most will opt for bricks and mortar retailers and just 7 per cent said they would do most of their festive shopping online.