Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December, were $415.7 billion, an increase of 0.5% from the previous month and up 4.7 percent compared with December 2011.
In the data released Tuesday morning, total sales for the 12 months of 2012 were up 5.2% from 2011.
Retail trade sales were up 0.4% from November 2012 and 4.4% above last year. Nonstore retailers were up 12.6% from December 2011.
The figures are adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes.
For building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, a category that includes home centers and hardware stores, December sales were estimated at $24.804 billion, essentially flat from November, but up 2.0% from the year ago month.