By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Irish people went on the biggest pre-Christmas spending spree on record, shelling out almost 11 percent more last December compared to the previous year, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office.
The booming economy is leading to record-breaking spending highs, with the value of sales up 10.9 percent overall in 1999 compared to a 9.7 percent increase in 1998.
Big-spending consumers also took home 9 percent more items during the year as the cash tills kept ringing in shops and supermarkets and the volume of goods sold jumped.
The buying splurge comes as new figures show that the Irish inflation is 4.4 percent when compared with other EU States, where the average rate of inflation across the 15 countries is only 1.7 percent.
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