Consumers splash out on cars
Cars and bars were the biggest beneficiaries of a mini-surge in consumer spending last month.
New Central Statistics Office figures show that the volume of retail sales increased by 1.4pc in March compared to February, and are 9.2pc up on a year ago.
Sales of big ticket items such as cars are up 23pc compared to a year ago, while home purchases also increased with sales of furniture up 18.7pc, hardware by 10.2pc and electrical goods up 11.2pc.
The value of retail sales - the amount of money spent - rose by 1.2pc in March and was 5.7pc higher than a year ago.
Alan McQuaid of Merrion stockbrokers said that "although consumers are still reluctant to go on a mad spending spree, there does seem to be a view that the worst is over".
There was even anecdotal evidence that shoppers were crossing the border from Northern Ireland to shop in the Republic to take advantage of the strength of sterling, he added.
But Retail Excellence Ireland said when you excluded car sales, the value of retail sales had only increased by 1.2pc since last year.
"This underlines why retailers are remaining extremely cautious about hiring new staff, he said.