Retail sales volumes, which strip out price movements, fell a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in the first three months of the year, revised from a previously released 1.5% drop.
Statistics New Zealand says the revised data reflects a change in the way spending data from supermarkets and grocery stores is handled, and it won't affect previously published GDP data.
But Infometrics economist Matt Nolan says the revision does mean retail spending is a little healthier than first thought.
He says it initially appeared that there was an extremely sharp drop in supermarket sales after the Rugby World Cup.
"Previously we had this mammoth 7.4% fall - it took supermarket sales below where they'd been for over a year, so it seemed like that industry was really struggling.
"They looked at the data and decided that wasn't representative of what was going on and changed it and it's now a 3.9% fall".