With Christmas just a matter of days away, it is perhaps unsurprising that retail analysts are expecting a strong week for sales in the nation’s stores.

The latest Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) and GE Capital Christmas Retail Index showed that spending could hit as much as $12 billion this week alone.

Analysts believe that most people will still have one or two gifts left to buy – bringing some much needed cheer to retailers throughout Australia.

Statistics suggest that the average Australian will spend about $500 this week – although some shoppers are likely to leave final purchases until Christmas Eve, which falls on a Monday this year.

Extended trading hours are expected to entice shoppers who have left their gift buying until the last minute.

Chief executive officer of ANRA Margy Osmond said: “Only ten per cent of Aussies tell us they do most of their shopping in the two to six days before Santa makes his trip down the chimney, but twice as many (21 per cent) said they would complete their shopping in those last few days, contributing to the bump in sales.”

She revealed that shoppers in New South Wales are likely to be out in force this week, with sales in this state alone likely to contribute $515 million to the final total.

Queenslanders are also likely to increase their spending over the days ahead from $1.4 billion last week to $1.9billion.

Meanwhile, those in the ACT, South Australia and Northern Territory were found to be the most likely to wrap up their Christmas shopping early, as they have already witnessed their biggest week for spending.

ANRA recently revealed that vouchers are topping Christmas wish lists this year, as more than a fifth of people will be buying them for loved ones.