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.
Boston schools pull out free condoms over wrapping complaints
NBC reportedly holds celebs hostage to Jimmy Fallon's show