Retail sales volumes were 8.5% higher in March than in the same month last year, driven by growth in homewares and car sales, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show today.
Sales volumes were down 1.9% compared to February, the CSO said.
This followed a monthly decline of 20.7% in January and an increase of 18.3% in the month of February.
Today's CSO figures showed that the largest monthly increases were in books, newspapers and stationery, with sales jumping by 19.6%, while department stores sales were up 17.1%.
Sales of hardware, paints and glass increased by 9.4%, while clothing, footwear and textiles sales were up 7.7% and fuel sales rose by 4.9%.
But electrical goods sales were down 17.8% in March, while car sales slowed down by 8.5% and sales in bars eased by 1.6%.
Compared to the same time last year, the CSO said the sectors with the largest decreases in volume were bars, with sales down 81.3% due to Covid-19 enforced closures.
Sales of clothing, footwear and textiles also fell by 27.4%, while department stores sales sank 20.1%.
The sectors with the largest increases in the volume of retail sales compared to the same time last year were hardware, paints and glass (up 32.1%), motor trades (up 27.5%).
"Other retail sales" also rose by 21.3%.
Other Retail sales includes sales of carpets, rugs, wall and floor coverings, music and video recordings, games and toys, flowers, plants, seeds, fertilisers, pet animals and pet food and jewellery.
Today's CSO figures also show that the proportion of retail sales transacted online, from Irish registered companies, remained stable at 11.5% in March 2021.
It noted that 64% of clothing, footwear and textiles sales, almost 30% of Department Store sales and over 21% of electrical goods sales were made online in March.