The 8.8% decrease in fuel sales for automobiles reported in the first month of the year was only partially offset by the hikes in sales of foodstuff, beverages and tobacco (4.6 percent) and of non-food products (3.6 percent).

Retail, wholesale and vehicle repairing and maintenance dipped 26 percent on the first month of last year, following a 33.3 percent plunge in auto sales.

Business from services rendered to the population fell by 2.8 percent in the similar period, on a significant drop of 24 percent in cleaning services for textiles and fur products and a 20.1 percent decrease in the activity of tourist agencies.

However, the retail business, excluding motorcycle and car sales, hiked 13.3 percent in January on the previous month.

Turnover from sales of non-food stuff upped 13.4 percent and sales of food products, beverages and tobacco were 11.1 percent higher on December 2008. But fuels saw a 3.3 percent slip in sales.