RETAIL sales fell by 1.6pc in August, with the drop largely due to a spike in car sales the previous month.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office showed that with car sales stripped out, the drop in the volume of retail sales was 0.2pc compared with July. The spike in motor sales came after the introduction of the '132' car registration plate.
On an annual basis, retail sales were 2.6pc higher than in August of last year and 1.2pc up when cars were excluded.
Big gains were recorded in the sale of electrical goods, up 7.9pc, furniture and lighting, and clothing and textiles.
Car sales were down 9.7pc on July, and other drops were recorded in the sale of hardware goods like paint.
Despite the monthly drop, the figures were positive on an annual basis, said Merrion Stockbrokers economist Alan McQuaid.
"After a drop of 0.3pc in real terms last year, there is now based on the third quarter numbers, every possibility that personal spending on goods and services will post a small positive gain in 2013," he said.