Retail spending in Dublin recorded further growth in the final quarter of last year, as consumer demand remained strong in most sectors.

The latest MasterCard SpendingPulse produced on behalf of the four Dublin Local Authorities shows that retail spending in the capital rose by 0.4% compared to the previous quarter, and by over 5% compared to the same quarter in 2020 to reach a new peak index reading of 138.5.

The data reveals that the growth was driven by spending in the entertainment sector, which more than doubled compared to the final quarter of 2020.

Spending in hotels, restaurants and bars saw spending increase by almost 15% in the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter.

In contrast, spending contracted for necessities and discretionary items like clothes on a quarterly basis.

However, year-on-year, the data reveals significant growth in the discretionary sector, where spending increased by 113% compared to the final quarter of 2020.

At the national level, total retail spending rose by almost 11% compared to the same time the previous year, but fell back 1.3% compared to quarter three.

The report reveals that a quarterly reduction of almost 24% in consumers’ discretionary spending was the main contributor to this national-level decline, though a minor contraction in household good sales was also recorded.

Spending by overseas tourists in Dublin rose by almost 76% compared to the final quarter of 2020, albeit from a low base.

Following the easing of travel restrictions by the Biden Administration, spending by US tourists recovered to the greatest year-on-year extent in the quarter - up 390%.

The German market has recovered to the greatest extent relative to pre-pandemic times, with spending in the final quarter standing just 11.6% below the same quarter in 2019.

Michael McNamara, Global Head of SpendingPulse, MasterCard, said the fourth quarter of last year was another strong period for retail in Dublin.

"Total expenditure by consumers in the Capital expanded by 5.1% year-on-year, with significant gains seen in the entertainment sector in spite of tightening restrictions on hospitality," he said.

"Discretionary spending in department and clothing stores was subdued and is a disappointing conclusion to what was another challenging year for bricks-and-mortar outlets," he added.

Data published by the CSO today shows that nation retail sales fell back in December compared to November, while they were also lower on an annual basis.

The volume of retail sales in December was 3.2% lower than in November. They were 2.2% lower than December 2020.