Irish Christmas spending is expected to return to boom-levels

It is forecast that Irish shoppers will spend €130m more than they did over the festive period last year

Irish Christmas spending is expected to return to boom-levels

Niall Carson / PA

Retail Ireland is predicting that the country will go on its biggest December spending spree since Christmas 2008.

The industry group thinks consumers spend over €4.05bn euro this month - an increase of close to €130m compared to the €3.92bn spent last year. 

The group has published its 'Christmas Monitor 2015' - it forecasts that Irish households will spend an average of almost €2,450 this December - €600 more than the average monthly spend.

Despite the sales boom, prices are 4% lower than this time last year. 

Thomas Burke of Retail Ireland says there's more money around this Christmas:

"Retail sales are running about 2.3% ahead of the same period in 2014. Consumer sentiment is up - it's about 10% ahead of where it was at this time last year," he told Newstalk Breakfast.

He adds that disposable income is also up by 2-3% and that this is all positive news for Irish retailers - but not all sectors are enjoying a festive spurt, with some areas still struggling:

"Categories such as electronics, fashion, footwear and furniture are all outperforming the market but growth in other categories such as books, news and stationery and groceries remains weak," he added.

The research also found that less shoppers from the Republic are going to Northern Ireland to shop - the numbers crossing the boarder are down by 7% to only a quarter of the figure from 2008.