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AAP

December 20 2012, 00:01AM

By Evan Schwarten

SYDNEY, Dec 19 AAP - Businesses may get that sales boost they've been begging Santa for after all, with a new survey showing a rise in consumer spending ahead of Christmas.

According to the Commonwealth Bank's Business Sales Indicator (BSI), economy-wide spending rose 2.2 per cent in November, following a one per cent fall in October.

CBA executive general manager, local business banking, Adam Bennett said the increase in spending was good news for businesses hoping for a pre-Christmas boost after a tough year for many traders.

"Although we have experienced spending volatility over the past six months, the latest results provide businesses with some much-needed good news in the lead up to Christmas," he said.

"Coming off the back of a tough year for many sectors, it isimportant that businesses across the country are prepared to make the most of consumer spending over the coming weeks."

The increase in spending came despite a sharp fall in both consumer and business sentiment in November, according to influential surveys conducted by Westpac and the National Australia Bank.

It also comes after a year of modest growth in retail sales, with retail spending up just over three per cent in the year to October, according to official figures.

The BSI tracks credit and debit card transactions at CBA's point-of-sale terminals, which the bank says cover about 30 per cent of the market.

CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said the November results were encouraging but consumers remained conservative in their spending habits.

"While we have seen a lift in spending we know consumers are still, on a whole, adopting conservative habits," he said.

"Hopefully this uptick in spending, coupled with positive economic news such as the recent interest rate cut and favourable jobs data, will help drive consistent spending patterns into the New Year."

The BSI showed the strongest monthly increase in spending was on the arts and entertainment sector, while service providers suffered the biggest decline, with a fall of 4.9 per cent.