Spending in supermarkets and specialist food stores increased by 1.7% year-on-year in December, according to the Office of National Statistics.

The rise in sales was driven by higher prices, which ONS said were 3% higher than last Christmas. The quantity of food sold dipped 1%.

The amount sold by the supermarkets was unchanged on December 2011, whereas sales at specialist food shops, off-licences and tobacconists fell, the ONS said.

Sales in the retail sector as a whole increased by 0.7% in December in value terms and were up 0.3% by volume.

The ONS figures were published a day after Nielsen released its industry data on Christmas trading. It indicated supermarket sales volumes increased 0.5% in the four weeks to 5 January, having declined 0.5% in the previous four week period.

Nielsen also said spending on advertising was high this Christmas. Tesco increased its spending by 29% to £8.4m and Aldi’s spending rocketed 54%.