Retail sales rose slightly during the fourth and final quarter of 2021, Retail Excellence Ireland's latest industry performance review shows.

Year on year, sales levels rose by 0.2% in the last three months of the year.

The best performing sectors in the fourth quarter included hot beverages, which rose by 4.2% and home and giftware, up 2.18%.

Retail Excellence Ireland noted that the increase in hot beverages shows that footfall held up well during the last quarter.

The worse performing sectors for the fourth quarter included furniture and flooring (down 2%), ladies fashion (down 1.31%) and pharmacy (1.29%).

The review shows that November sales were weak, with volumes down 0.17% due to pre-budget fears and a decrease in consumer sentiment. They picked up by 0.3% in December.

''The slight increase in retail sales during the fourth quarter of 1012 is very welcome, however the sector still remains fragile,'' commented Retail Excellence Ireland's David Fitzsimons.

He noted that home dependent sectors continue to suffer due to the lack of a functioning residential property market.

''It is noticeable that many retailers discounted in December to generate sales, thus while consumers respond to value, the retailers suffered margin erosion,'' he added.