Retail sales posted annual growth of 5.1% in February and were 2.1% higher month-on-month, new figures from the Central Statistic Offices show.

The figures show that consumers are still spending solidly on an annual basis despite concerns over Brexit and bank deposits remaining at record-highs. 

The CSO said that excluding car sales – which have been volatile in recent years – volumes still grew by an almost identical 5.3% from a year earlier. They were 1.4% higher compared to the previous month.

Today's figures show the sectors with the largest monthly volume increases included clothing, footwear and textiles, which saw sales growth of 8.1%. Motor trades rose by 7.6%. 

The sectors with the biggest monthly decreases were "other retail sales" with the likes of carpets, games and toys, flowers and plants, pet food and jewellery falling by 3.9%, while sales of books, newspapers and stationery eased by 3.1%.

The CSO also reported a 1.7% monthly increase in the value of retail sales in February, while there was an annual increase of 4.5% compared to the same time last year.

Commenting on today's figures, Cantor Fitzgerald economist Alan McQuaid said that retail sales continue to remain erratic on a monthly basis and are still swinging back and forth, the underlying trend is positive.

The economist said that what happens on the currency and Brexit fronts will be important factors in determining overall consumer spending patterns here over the next 12 to 18 months.

But he said he was still expecting to see "healthy" personal consumption in the Irish economy in 2019 as things currently stand.