West Australians have hit the shops hard today as families rush to stock up for Christmas lunch and nab last-minute presents.
Australians are tipped to have spent just over $2 billion already this Christmas Eve, despite some retailers saying the festive season has been flat overall.
Shoppers at Innaloo have been lining up since early this morning and shoppers are packing out supermarkets across the State.
Seafresh manager Louis Lynch said people started queuing at their store at 5.30am.
He described the trading as extreme and said things were showing no sign of slowing down.
“There were probably about 100 people in the queue this morning and we have been going and going every since we opened at 6am,” Mr Lynch said.
“We always have pretty intense Christmases but this year is even busier than usual.
“We won’t have anything left at the end of the night."
Food, liquor, coffee machines, iPads and iPods featured as big sellers today, Australian National Retailers Association chief executive Margy Osmond said.
Cosmetic departments and perfume stores had also been busy as last minute shoppers, mainly men, scrambled to buy gifts, she told reporters in Sydney.
The ANRA predicts just over $2 billion will have been spent on Christmas Eve alone, with an expected $32 billion spent on gifts by Australians this Christmas.
Spending was slightly up on last year “but it won’t be the exciting kind of Christmas we’d certainly be hoping for in 2013“, Ms Osmond said.
“Really this is going to be a fairly flat Christmas for retail, much as we would have liked to have seen it more buoyant and I think we will be slightly concerned about the start of 2013.”
Ms Osmond said retailers would hope for more interest rate cuts in the first part of 2013 to stimulate spending in what is traditionally the softest part of the retail year.
She said prices were already low with a lot of discounting in the run-up to Christmas.
“But that doesn’t mean you won’t be getting even huger benefits on Boxing Day.”
Ms Osmond said retailers noted a late surge in shopping this Christmas, put down to a Saturday, Sunday and Monday in the lead-up to Christmas Day.
She said there had been a big shift to online shopping this Christmas, including new options from Australian retailers.
“But of course a very big chunk of the action is heading overseas, something like 8 per cent of the total spend.”
Ms Osmond said everyone should be able to shop any way they wanted but Australian retailers were concerned about the amount of sales going overseas and wanted GST applied to them.
David Jones Group Executive Operations Cate Daniels said the department store’s first online clearance sales start on Christmas Day.
She said Boxing Day would be the biggest trading day of the year for David Jones with people this year being able to research what they wanted online before buying in store.
Shoppers took advantage of marathon opening hours at big city shopping centres as they traded overnight.
Chadstone Shopping Centre, in Melbourne’s southwest, opened its doors for its 34-hour marathon at 8am (AEDT) on Sunday.
Chadstone general manager Daniel Sutton said popular gift choices were LEGO and Barbie dolls for kids, gourmet cooking books, Apple electronic products and gift cards.
One last-minute Melbourne shopper failed to get her Christmas list ready in advance and was fined for scribbling hers while driving and not watching the road.