High Street sales fall

CONSUMER spending in Ireland remains depressed and there are fading hopes that shoppers will splash the cash next year with a planned two percentage point VAT increase.

Although retail sales rose slightly by 0.1pc within the month -- they remained at 3.8pc lower compared to last year.

The CSO figures, excluding car sales, are 0.2pc lower last month but fuel sales jumped up by 1.7pc within the month.

Bloxham chief economist Alan McQuaid said there was still weakness in consumer spending.

"Overall, we think headline retail sales will be down 1.6pc on average this year in volume terms, with sales excluding cars forecast to be 3.5pc lower than in 2010."