An economist is picking more subdued household spending for the second half of the year as people continue to pay for past excesses.
Official figures for electronic card transactions, which include debit, credit and charge cards, show retail spending fell a seasonally-adjusted 0.6% in September, following a rise in August.
Spending on food and alcohol had the biggest drop - of 0.6%, or $10 million - and spending fell in hospitality, furniture and hardware and clothing. Fuel rose by 0.2%, or $2 million.
Excluding fuel and car sales, core retail spending fell 0.9%.
ANZ senior economist Sharon Zollner says spending in the first half was stronger, but an overall trend is now reasserting itself.
"As a nation, we simply can't afford to spend too much at the moment."
The survey covers about 65% of retail sales.