Consumer confidence shows rise at year-end

Consumers’ greater optimism in the state of their personal finances at the end of last year resulted in the second highest level of confidence seen since 2007.

The latest KBC/ESRI consumer sentiment index climbed to 90.5 in December from 85.3 in November, reflecting the increasingly positive, but still uneven, outlook among consumers.

Measures introduced in Budget 2015, low inflation, and greater clarity regarding water charges are proposed in the report as potential contributory factors in consumers’ improved outlook on their personal finances.

Despite the increase, however, more consumers still expect their financial situation to deteriorate (33%) than improve (23%).

Consumers also remain markedly more cautious about their personal financial situation than the condition of the wider economy.

The index results are consistent with retail figures for November published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) yesterday.

The CSO data show retail sales rose 0.2% in November, reflecting a modest rise in sales volume, but declining value of retail sales, which fell by the same degree.

On an annual basis, however, sales volumes were up 4.7% on the same period in 2013 and 2.2% in terms of the value of goods sold. The sectors with the largest month-on-month volume growth were electrical goods (+2.6%) and clothing, footwear and textiles (+2.2%).

Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O’Sullivan said the 13 successive months of growth on an annual basis in terms of value and volume represented a clear illustration of the turnaround in the economy.


Lifestyle

A new RTÉ series takes viewers behind the scenes at Ireland’s finest eateries – including Restaurant Chestnut, a Michelin award-winner within six months of opening. Vickie Maye meets the chef behind it, Rob KrawczykGoing beyond the menu: RTÉ series goes behind the scenes at some of Ireland's finest restaurants

Whether you’re into a ‘no make-up make-up’ look or jet black lipstick, LFW had it all.These are the biggest beauty looks from a vampy London Fashion Week

It will take you out of your beauty comfort zone, but is remarkably easy to pull off.London Fashion Week: This top make-up artist wants you to ditch your cat-eye for a ‘blue fade’

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine advises a 20-something man who isn’t having any luck meeting women in bars and clubs.Ask a counsellor: ‘Neither me or my mates have had a date for years – what are we doing wrong?’

More From The Irish Examiner