Australians are expected to spend more than 8.7 billion AU dollars (7.8 billion U.S. dollars) for Christmas shopping in the next seven days before the start of the festive season, according to projections from the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) Christmas Retail Index released Monday. ANRA Chief Executive Officer Margy Osmond says in-store sales are expected to soar to 7.8 billion AU dollars, up 23 percent from previous week's sales while around 900 million AU dollars will be spent locally online, down 40 percent on last week. "We would expect a bulk of online shopping to be completed now with shoppers crossing their fingers their online purchases are delivered in time," she said in a statement. ANRA predicts Australians will have spent on average 1,280 AU dollars on gifts, food, alcohol and other festive trimmings in the four weeks leading up to Christmas. "Last minute Christmas shoppers are expected to take advantage of the extended trading hours in droves this week with Gen Y shoppers out in force," Osmond said. Almost 35 percent of Gen Y shoppers (those between the ages of 22-32) told ANRA they would be doing their Christmas shopping between Dec. 14 and Christmas Eve.