Booming confidence lifts sales in Republic
Retail sales in the Republic were up 0.3% in the month of February and 11% compared with the same period last year as consumer confidence hit a 15-year high.
The sales of books, newspapers and stationery rose strongly in the month at just under 8%.
According to Merrion Stockbrokers, retail sales will be up to 9.5% higher in volume terms for the year as a whole.
Excluding motor trades, retail sales were up 0.2% in the month and were 7.1% higher in the year, Merrion said, with the underlying trend described as "positive".
And according to Goodbody Stockbrokers, housing data for the Republic showed that while there was no change to prices in February, a two-speed market continues to exist, with Dublin now lagging in terms of price inflation.
"Consumer spending trends remain positive, with retail sales growing in February and remaining well ahead of 2015 levels," the firm added.
The Office for National Statistics said the amount spent in the UK retail industry was up 1.4% in February, compared to a year earlier.