Rome, December 20 - Retail sales fell sharply again in Italy in October, Istat said on Thursday, providing another indication of how hard the recession is hitting the country. The national statistics agency said retail sales were 1% lower in October than in September, for the fourth consecutive month-on-month fall. It added that October's sales were 3.8% lower than in the same month in 2011, the seventh consecutive year-on-year drop. Istat said the decline also hit big retail chains, which suffered a 4.8% drop in sales compared to October 2011. The only retailers who managed to register sales growth were discount food stores, with a 0.6% year-on-year increase.