ONS said retail volumes rose 5.3 percent from December 2012. Economists had expected a gain of 2.6 percent.
"All store types saw an increase in the quantity bought, but perhaps most notable is the record month-on-month increase in the quantity bought at department stores of 8.7 percent," ONS said.
With average weekly spending in December at $14.4 billion, retail receipts for December rose 6.1 percent from December 2012 and 2.6 percent over November 2013.
In 2012, weekly receipts in December averaged $13.9 billion. In November 2013, average weekly sales receipts were $12.3 billion per week.
For the year, retail volumes were 1.6 percent higher than 2012, the data office said.