Declining power prices, behind the scenes at the Europe Hotel, and ‘Who doesn’t love a book?’

The best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

Wholesale electricity prices dipped in November as the proportion of power generated from wind grew, according to new figures. Barry O’Halloran has more detail on the downward move, which is highlighted by Wind Energy Ireland in its latest analysis of the market. Any follow-through into cheaper household bills could take some time, alas.

Things were hotting up in Brussels on Thursday amid crunch negotiations on the future of the European Union’s budget. The Minister for Finance Michael McGrath was there to say the State is willing to pay more to ensure a wide range of services can continue, while more frugal countries such as Germany were voicing concern about European Commission requests for extra money. Naomi O’Leary has the story, while Derek Scally outlines the thinking behind the German approach and who might be driving it.

Retailers and publicans can bet on a busy day of Christmas trading on Saturday, December 23rd, based on AIB data for the same day last year. Ellen O’Regan writes that AIB card transaction volumes for December 23rd last year were 84 per cent higher than on an average day. The busiest time was between midday and 1pm, while men engaged in more last-minute shopping than women.

“Who doesn’t love a book?” asks Eason head of books Davina Milligan in Laura Slattery’s in-depth look at the Irish books retail market today. Laura finds out what’s working for booksellers (Prince Harry’s Spare, Liz Nugent’s Strange Sally Diamond and BookTok) and what’s not (the loss of schoolbook revenue) as the overall market tries to hold on to eight consecutive years of growth.


This week’s Business Interview features Killarney Hotels boss Michael Brennan, who tells Ciarán Hancock about how he has been steeped in the high-end hotels business since early childhood. He also explains why he is closing the Kerry-based group’s hotels (including its flagship Europe property) over Christmas.

In his weekly Economics column, John FitzGerald runs the rule over the North’s economy, considering how well it might fare in the future under changed constitutional status. He argues that addressing the structural weaknesses of the North’s economy is in the interests of all of Ireland’s citizens.

Cliff Taylor meanwhile uses his weekly Smart Money column to examine the increasingly two-tier nature of the Irish economy as multinationals boom but the domestic sector fights against significant headwinds.

In our Work section, Olive Keogh finds out why business leaders need to look in the mirror a bit more when they’re trying to lure in talented new staff. We also ask why following your career passion may not always be the best plan, and why boundless staff loyalty can sometimes be problematic.

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