THE RETAIL sector experienced a slight slump in sales in November - down 0.5pc from the same period last year.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) also showed a 1.1pc drop between November and October.
The figures show a dismal month in a number of areas, particularly in relation to the sale of electrical goods.
With motor figures excluded, the volume of retail sales recorded a monthly decline of 1.0pc compared to October, but did record an annual increase of 0.3pc.
The overall figures reveal a mixed month in terms of retail sales for Irish businesses.
Sales of electrical goods dropped by a massive 17.8pc, while fuel sales fell by 3.2.pc.
There were also minor falls recorded by businesses involved in the sale of books, newspapers and stationery (1.5pc) and hardware and glass (0.1pc)
However there were increases recorded by bars (3.2pc), furniture and lighting goods (2.7pc) and department stores (2.4pc).
The CSO also said that the value of retail sales fell by 1.2% in November from October, while there was an annual decrease of 0.2%.
Today's figures related to the period before the Budget - when consumers may have been cautious in their spending.
Retail Excellence Ireland, Ireland’s largest retail group, today said that it is not surprised with the decrease in sales.
“The main factor contributing to this decrease was the scheduling of the budget in December last year. The kite flying for Budget 2013 did not help retail sales or consumer sentiment and caused many consumers to postpone their spend,” according to CEO David Fitzsimons.
“However, we welcome the move by the Government to schedule next year’s Budget to October 2013. This is something which Retail Excellence Ireland has campaigned for on behalf of its 11,000 store members and will provide retailers with a much-needed boost for Christmas 2013”.
Despite being in the midst of the deepest recession in living memory, shoppers were found to have been splashing out on luxury goods during the Christmas period.
While today’s figures show a major slump in electrical sales in November, retailers reported a huge boost in sales during the run up to Christmas.
Some businesses experienced as much as a 1,000pc increase in sales of tablets.
Retailers are hopeful that the ringing tills will continue throughout the rest of the month as sales in many stores remain in place.