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Hey Big Spender

Irish consumers had their best Christmas for seven years

New figures today also show an increase of 6.4% in retail sales over the course of the year.

THINGS SEEM TO be continuing to swing upwards for Irish consumers – with the most positive December for seven years.

The most recent figures from the KBC Bank Ireland/ ESRI consumer sentiment index showed a climb to 90.5 last month – its second highest level since January 2007.

This was up from 85.3 in November – although below the 92.8 peak recorded in September.

Irish consumers 

The results today show that consumers were beginning to see an upturn in their own personal financial situations. This was attributed to an upswing from Budget 2015 and more clarity surrounding issues such as water charges and the property tax.

In the survey, it was found that the past year has been “moderately positive” year for retailers, although it is very clearly stated that this “does not suggest anything approaching boom conditions”.

It is predicted that over the next twelve months, Ireland could see the increase in consumer sentiment translate into a boost for retailers.

Retail figures

This boost in consumer confidence comes alongside figures from the Central Statistics Office showing an increase in retail sales for the month of November.

Across Ireland, there was an increase of 0.2% in the month before December’s Christmas period. This was particularly encouraging as the ‘Black Friday’ effect, which fell on 28 November, falls too late in the month to be included.

While spending was up, the savings rate remained steady at just over 12% – with a large number of households focusing on paying off debt. This figure was roughly similar to levels seen in 2013.

Big spending

Throughout 2014, retail sales were up 6.4%. This increase in was put down, in part, to consumer confidence around the purchase of big ticket items.

Goods that performed best last year were cars, furniture, lighting and electrical goods.

The upsurge in spending could be tied to an increase in earnings that was experienced last year – with total household wages growing by 5.7% in the first three quarters of 2014.

Read: Tesco wants to take a razor to its costs – and 350 Irish staff are out the door

Also: These were the bumper industries for Irish startups last year

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