Retail sales in the Republic have suffered their biggest drop in almost a quarter of a century as recession-hit shoppers stay away in their droves.
New figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) at the weekend revealed the volume of sales was down by six percent in August, compared to the same month a year earlier, and down by almost three percent from July.
Not since February 1984 have retailers seen such a disastrous month as cash-strapped shoppers kept a tight grip on their finances.
With no prospect of a recovery in spending in the immediate future, the Dublin government will have to revise its estimates down yet again.
The largest drops were in house-related products reflecting the collapse of the Republic’s property market. Sales of furniture and lighting were down by a massive 20 percent from August last year, while hardware, paints and glass were down by over 14 percent.
Sales of household equipment fell by over 12 percent in the year.
Meanwhile, the worst fears of the motor industry were confirmed with the news that car sales were down by almost seven percent in the space of a month. Sales of food, beverages and tobacco were all down by over seven percent from 2007.
Bucking the trend, however, were the department stores as sales jumped by almost 15 percent from July and were up by six percent from August 2007.
However inflation figures released earlier this week showed that prices for clothes and footwear rose by over four percent in September meaning this sales bonanza will probably be short-lived.