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Confidence high as we begin to spend

CONSUMERS are starting to look on the bright side again with confidence among shoppers hitting a three-year high.

After two years of recession, people think the coming year will see the economy and their personal finance improve.

The results of the latest Consumer Confidence Monitor is good news for Brian Lenihan as he spends the summer mulling over a budget that needs to achieve savings of €3bn.

Mr Lenihan has argued that the worst is over and it seems that consumers are not only buying into his message but are also prepared to spend more.

The study shows that 22pc of people surveyed this month believe the country will be better off, compared with just 9pc in March and 8pc in November.

Dubliners and young people are driving the new found positivity, with one third of people living in the capital believing the situation is getting better.

This compares with 19pc of people in the rest of Leinster, 13pc in Munster and 21pc in Connacht/Ulster.

The growing sense of optimism will also give renewed hope to shop owners who have been struggling to keep their heads above water.

More than half of those surveyed said they expected their income to be higher or at least the same in the next year.

The study of 1,008 adults by the Behaviour and Attitudes (B&A) Consumer Confidence Tracker also found that a significant 58pc feel the economy isn't going to get any worse.

Some 11pc expect their income will rise, with 46pc expecting their take-home pay to remain the same. There is also an increase in the percentage of people who expect to buy more goods in the coming year.

In March, just 4pc of people said they expected to increase their spending but this figure has now risen to 6pc.



encouraging

Despite the fact that young people have been the worst hit by unemployment and the property crash, they remain the most optimistic.

In the 16 to 24 age category, 34pc believed the economy will improve over the next year, this dropped to 20pc among those aged 25 to 34 years, but rose to 22pc of the 35 to 49-year-olds.

It isn't all good news as the latest quarterly review by Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) warns that more shops are in danger. Sales declined by an average of 4.1pc in April, May and June.

Speaking about the B&A survey, one of its directors, Luke Reaper, said: "It is the first time we have seen any degree of light, which is encouraging."

kdoyle@herald.ie


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