Saorview boosts retail data

Increased television sales in the run-up to the digital switchover are likely to have pushed headline retail sales up further during October, it was claimed yesterday.

The CSO is due to publish updated retail sales figures for October on Wednesday.

These, according to Alan McQuaid, economist with Merrion Capital, should show a monthly rise of 0.9%, and a year-on-year increase of 1.2%.

“As things currently stand, we now believe personal spending will fall by 1% on average in real terms this year, as against our previous projection of a 2% decline,” he said. “This should also mean that GDP growth in 2012, will be higher than envisaged before.

“The latest official retail sales data, for September, suggest that consumers may be starting to spend again, albeit tentatively.

“Headline sales were up 0.9% in the month, the fourth rise in the last five months. Furthermore, they were up 1.4% on an annual basis — the first year-on- year increase of 2012.”

Meanwhile, the CSO will also publish updated residential property price data for October on Monday. Average prices are expected to have risen by another 1%, last month. “Although the most recent figures were very encouraging, it is too early to say whether residential property prices are now on a steady upward rise,” said Mr McQuaid.

“As regards October, a monthly increase of 1% is projected, which would push the annual rate of decline down to 6.7%.”

In Dublin, residential property prices rose by 2.4% in September, the biggest increase seen in the capital since Aug 2006. On a national basis, September’s figures saw a 0.9% rise, up from a 0.5% increase in August.

Mr McQuaid is also anticipating upcoming CSO data to show further growth in private sector wage rates, a 2% fall in in-bound tourism figures for the last few months, and a slight increase in unemployment levels for October.

“The average jobless rate was 14.4% in 2011 and we expect it to be higher, at 14.8%, in 2012,” he said.

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