December retail sales down 0.1%
The volume of retail sales fell by 0.1 per cent in December compared to the previous month, the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show.
The figures also revealed the volume of sales decreased by 1 per cent on an annual basis last month, the largest decline in five months.
If the volatile motor trade is excluded, the volume of sales rose by 0.8 per cent last month compared with November, resulting in an annual increase of 0.8 per cent.
Department stores benefited most from the Christmas period, recording the largest month-on-month increase with a 6.3 per cent jump in sales.
Sales at bars also increased by 4.4 per cent compared with the previous month while trade in books, newspapers and stationery rose by 3.4 per cent.
However, there were large monthly decreases in furniture and lighting sales which fell 7.1 per cent and other retail sales which dropped 3.1 per cent in December.
The CSO also noted that car sales were down nearly 22 per cent in December compared to the same time in 2011.
There was no change in the value of retail sales in December when compared with the previous month and there was an annual decrease of 0.7 per cent.