CONSUMER spending is on a downward spiral this year as estimates for May show a monthly decline of 0.1pc.
This relates to a 2.1pc drop in year-on-year figures.
Chambers Ireland said the continuing steady decline in retail sales shows a need for Government to focus on cost containment rather than raising taxes.
And the continued weakness in the level of retail sales, mounting State-based business costs, the "cock-up" by Ulster Bank and the recent wet weather will all mean "wipeout" for many shop owners this year, the lobby group ISME said today.
The largest monthly declines were seen in the areas of bar sales, cars, electrical goods, and newspaper and book sales.