Estimates of the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 4.3% compared with December 2015 and fell by 1.9% compared with November 2016.
The largest contribution to the month-on-month fall came from non-food stores. However, garden centres reported patchy sales, with greater competition and a maturing Christmas offer cited as reasons.
The underlying trend remains one of growth with the 3 month on 3 month movement in the quantity bought increasing by 1.2%.
Average store prices increased by 0.9% on the year and for all retailing excluding fuel prices increased by 0.1%; the first increase since June 2014.
Online sales (excluding automotive fuel) increased year-on-year by 21.3%, but fell on the month by 5.3%; accounting for approximately 15% of all retail spending.