Retail sales in October fell on a monthly basis for the first time since April as Covid-19 curbs were tightened.

But the modest 0.7% drop meant sales were still 8.1% higher than the same time a year ago, new figures from Central Statistics Office show. 

All non-essential retailers was shut and restaurants limited to takeaway service from October 22, measures which are set to be mostly unwound from next week.

Retail sales volumes had increased annually each month since plummeting a record 44% year-on-year in April and a further 25% in May during a wider lockdown. 

Hardware, paint and glass, electrical goods and "other" retail sales were again responsible for the largest increases, all up by over 30%, as people caught up on jobs around the home.

The CSO noted that retail sales in October were 10.6% higher than in February before the Covid-19 crisis started. 

But not every sector has fully recovered and bar sales remain 75.3% lower, while sales of fuel are down 20.5%.

Sales of books, newspapers and stationery are still 9.9% lower while clothing, footwear and textiles sales remain 4.1% below February levels. 

Today's CSO figures show that when car sales are excluded, the volume of retail sales decreased by 0.2% in October over the previous month and increased by 9% when compared with the same month last year. 

The CSO also noted that the proportion of retail sales transacted online increased to 6.1% in October from 4.5% in September.

This is below the high of 15.3% recorded in April at the height of the first coronavirus lockdown.