Published Saturday, 17 December 2011
Across the UK, over 11 million shoppers were expected to spend more than £1.5m a minute.
Glyn Roberts, from the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association, said footfall in shops had increased in the region, however it was unclear if that was to translate into an increase in sales.
"Particularly given that there is a big challenge this Christmas with people buying online, it is good to see that our towns and city centres seem to be busy," he said.
Price comparison site Kelkoo said people in the UK are expected to spend £128 each on Christmas presents and other goods.
That would take the average Christmas spend to almost £700.
Meanwhile, police say they have received reports of counterfeit £50 bank notes in circulation over the last number of days in the Moira, Crumlin and Carrickfergus areas.
They are advising local businesses and shoppers to take a few minutes to check notes carefully before accepting them and always report any suspicious incidents to police.
"It is a criminal offence to try to pass or keep a banknote that you either know or suspect to be counterfeit. If you inadvertently receive a note that you believe to be counterfeit, you should take it to the nearest police station," said a police spokesperson.