The figures show that retail sales volumes were 18.9% higher than January 2021.

The CSO said that a number of sectors showed a very large annual increase in the volume of sales compared with the same month last year when a full Covid-19 lockdown of non-essential retail and services was in force.

The volume of bars sales soared by 499% compared with January 2021, but bar sales still remain 42.3% lower than their pre-Covid-19 level in January 2020.

Clothing and footwear saw an annual jump of 370%, while books, newspapers and stationery sales rose by 91.4%. Sales in department stores jumped by 88.8% and furniture and lighting sales also strong a big increase of 71.2%.

In all of these sectors, the annual increase reflected recovery from a very low base in January 2021, the CSO said.

The latest CSO figures show that the biggest monthly sales decreases were seen in pharmaceuticals, medical and cosmetic articles, which fell by 14.9% while sales of hardware, paints and Glass slowed by 14.1%.

But clothing and footwear sales rose by 31.4% in January compared to December while sales of electrical goods were up 14.6%.

The CSO also said that the impact of price increases was reflected in the difference between value and volume of retail sales.

In fuel sales for example, the value of sales rose by 52.4% in the year to January while the volume rose by 23.7% with the difference due to higher prices compared to the previous year.