Even a good punch-up or a ref's ropey decision isn't enough to bring in the crowds any more. The number of people attending championship matches has fallen by about 16 per cent -- once replays are stripped out -- since the same period last year. Ticket prices have been cut to address this slump, which represents poor consumer confidence.
Harry Potter 7 opens in 12-days time. Will it be the biggest movie of the year, or will Cars 2 do the business for Pixar? New figures from Rentrak show that Irish box-office takings in the year to June 23 were almost €51.9m. This compares to €59m for the same period last year. Despite a pick-up in recent weeks, the box office has performed poorly this year; which is good, as a strong box office is seen as a proxy for a weakening economy.
The Census has enlightened us to the fact that our population has grown by 8 per cent since 2006 -- which would tend to indicate that we in Ireland will have more people working to support the various demographics who are out of the workforce, than any other country in Europe. Makes you kind of proud, doesn't it?
Honey is a cheap treat. It's not a fancy bar of Green & Black or one of the top end Magnums. Tesco reports that sales of honey have risen 15 per cent this year, which indicates that we're a bit depressed and need cheering up. Tell me about it.
10-year Irish bond yield
Whoaaah! That was close. Just 17 votes separated Greece from a default and a nuclear winter. Not that it would have been a bad thing -- just different. After the votes were counted, yields on Irish bonds slipped back to 11.69 per cent. There may even be peace and quiet now... until the Greek crisis kicks off again big time in September.
The Insomnia coffee chain recorded its sixth consecutive week of positive coffee sales -- we did the sums, and that's a 3 per cent hike on the same week in 2010. Sales of cappuccinos, Americanos and lattes are all surging ahead, which is a good barometer for both consumer confidence and for discretionary spending.
Directory enquiry calls to 11890 asking for the numbers of recruitment specialists have rocketed up by 54 per cent against the same period last year. All of this telephone traffic is somewhat encouraging, but we need to see it come through in the Exchequer figures before measuring the impact on our economy.
Sunday Indo Business