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Irish Retail Sales Fall 3.8% on Year, Declining for Fourth Month

Irish retail sales declined for a fourth month on an annual basis in October as unemployment rose and house prices fell, the central statistics office said.

Retail sales fell 3.8 percent in October from the same month a year earlier, the Cork-based agency said on its website today. Sales rose 0.1 percent from September. Excluding autos, sales dropped 3.6 percent from the previous year and fell 0.2 percent from the previous month.

Irish home loans in arrears for more than 90 days rose to 8.1 percent at the end of September, following the end of a decade-long property boom that peaked in 2007, the Irish central bank said Nov. 18. Ireland’s government will unveil an austerity budget on Dec. 6.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said today that risks to its forecasts for growth in Ireland’s economy next year and in 2013 are “skewed to the downside” as the country’s export markets weaken.

“Ireland remains highly reliant on, and vulnerable to change in, foreign demand,” the Paris-based OECD said in its twice-annual global economic outlook. The body forecast that Ireland’s gross domestic product will expand by 1 percent next year and 2.4 percent in 2013, unchanged from October, when it lowered its 2012 prediction.

Sales of books, newspapers and stationary fell 14.4 percent in October from a year earlier, the statistics office said. Sales at department stores dropped 8 percent, while sales of food, drinks and tobacco fell 5.2 percent.

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