Ireland's retail sales slump for 4th straight year
DUBLIN - January 27, 2012 (WPVI) -- Ireland is counting on its citizens to spend more and help reverse the nation's daunting deficits. But new figures for retail sales reveal that debt-burdened shoppers spent less for the fourth straight year.
Friday's report found retail sales excluding car dealerships fell 1.8 percent by value and 2.7 percent by volume in 2011.
And analysts warned that Ireland's decision to hike sales tax this month by 2 points to an EU-leading 23 percent would depress consumer spending in 2012, leading to poorer-than-forecast tax takes from shop tills.
Irish vehicle sales did grow 13 percent in the first half of 2011 thanks to a government-subsidized program encouraging motorists to scrap old cars for new ones. But car sales slumped by 25 percent after that program ended in June.
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