RETAILERS are becoming increasingly negative about how their businesses will fare between now and the end of next month.
A new survey from trade body Retail Ireland shows there has been a significant deterioration in business sentiment.
The body says people are insecure about spending as they don't know how much money they will have in the future.
"The recovery in retail sales, which was evident earlier in the year, has stalled," Retail Ireland director Torlach Denihan said.
"Retailers' perceptions of the prospects for their own businesses in the period up to end November have become more negative.
"To help improve consumer spending the projected adjustments to the public finances need to be translated into specifics as soon as possible, so consumers know where they stand in terms of net disposable income," Mr Denihan added.
Half of the businesses surveyed said their companies were performing poorly.
Just 5pc said they were more confident about the future of their business than three months ago.
"The retail sector remains in survival mode, and continues to deal with a huge decline in sales and a very high-cost base," Mr Denihan said.
"Government must take decisive action to get the Irish cost base back into line with the rest of Europe."
Half of the businesses said they expected their profitability to decrease for the period September to November.
Meanwhile, it has been claimed that Irish people can add €1bn to the economy if they switch a quarter of their weekly grocery spend from imported to Irish food.
Ger Mullally, chairman of the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival, said some €4.6bn is spent annually on imported food. The festival runs October 22-25.