7 out of 13 major retail categories showed gains in December, 1 was unchanged and 5 declined.
The biggest increases were recorded for motor vehicles and parts (2.4 percent vs -0.2 percent in November), gasoline statisons (2 percent vs 0 percent), nonstore retailers (1.3 percent vs 0.3 percent), furniture (0.5 percent vs 0 percent), building materials and garden equipment (0.5 percent vs 0.6 percent), health and personal care stores (0.3 percent, the same as in November) and sporting goods (0.2 percent vs -1.4 percent).
In contrast, sales were flat for clothing (0 percent in November) and fell for miscellaneous stores (-1 percent vs 0 percent), food services and drinking places (-0.8 percent vs 1.2 percent), electronics and appliances (-0.5 percent vs 0.1 percent), general merchandise stores (-0.5 percent vs 0.1 percent) and food and beverages (-0.3 percent vs 0 percent).
The so-called core retail sales that exclude automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services and correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, rose 0.2 percent after being flat in November.
Year-on-year, retail sales increased by 4.1 percent.