The temporary lifting of the Level 5 lockdown in December helped boost retail sales ahead of the vital Christmas season.
The volume of retail sales increased by 14.3% in December compared to the previous month, and were 8.2% higher than December 2019, new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show.
The volume of retail sales had fallen on a monthly basis for the first time in six months in November, as the tightening of Covid-19 restrictions across the country forced many retailers to shut their doors.
The volume of sales in clothing, footwear and textiles soared by 160.9% in December, when compared to November 2020, while furniture & lighting (+63.5%) and department stores (+42.6%) also saw a boost.
The volume of sales for bars increased almost four-fold in December compared to November, however, the CSO noted it represented just over one-third of the volume of sales in December 2019.
The monthly volume of sales fell in electrical goods (-17.1%) and pharmaceuticals, medical and cosmetics (-1.8%) last month, but were up 5.5% and 11% on an annual basis, respectively.
The re-opening of large sectors of the economy appears to have shifted the proportion of retail sales transacted online (from Irish registered companies), falling from 12.4% in November to 5.6% in December.
The CSO figures do not reflect online transactions with non-Irish-registered companies.