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Electrical stores get powerful sales boost from digital switch

THE switch to digital TV has given electrical stores a much-needed lift.

New figures show electrical sales surged by more than 11pc in the past year, with analysts putting it down to the "Saorview effect" as customers bought new TVs and set-top boxes.

Combined with strong bar sales, this contributed to a 0.9pc bounce in retail performance last month, with customers spending 2.2pc more in the shops than they did last year.

September was the third month in a row that retail sales rose. When motor trades are excluded, the volume and value of retail sales still rose, albeit by 0.5pc.

Retail Excellence Ireland said there was an undoubted improvement, but doom and gloom about the Budget could dampen consumer feeling again in coming months.

"Our figures show a 16pc quarterly increase in 'brown goods' electrical sales which cover TVs and stereos, and this was undoubtedly down to the Saorview effect," said its chief executive David Fitzsimons.

Irish retail sales are rising faster than in the rest of Europe, where they are stagnant.

Bar sales performed most strongly, with consumers spending 4.7pc more on drink than a year ago.

Department stores and pharmacies have enjoyed growth, but sales of books, newspapers, fuel, food and furniture all fell.

The stronger retail figures combined with higher house prices were positive signs for the economy, said Merrion stockbrokers' economist Alan McQuaid.

Irish Independent