The retailers' peak industry body predicts shoppers will shell out 3.9 per cent more this festive season than last.
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) on Thursday said shoppers were expected to put about $41.2 billion through retail tills from now until December 25.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said those predictions, prepared by Roy Morgan Research, represented a steady 3.9 per cent gain on sales of $39.7 billion during the corresponding period last year.
'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,' Mr Zimmerman 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.'
Food and hospitality sales were on the way up but retailers that relied heavily on Christmas sales, such as clothing and department stores, would be less lucky, he said.
Canberra retailers could expect the biggest improvement in 2012, with ACT sales for the Christmas period projected at $764 million - a jump of 6.9 per cent year-on-year.
Tasmanian retailers fared worst, with a 4.2 per cent year-on-year sales drop, down to $788 million.
NSW had the highest projected overall sales for the festive season with retail spending predicted at $12.6 billion.