Retail spending rose modestly in the last three months of 2009, with people buying more appliances.
Statistics New Zealand says seasonally adjusted retail sales rose 1% to $13.7 billion in the three months to December compared with the previous quarter.
Excluding price changes, volumes rose 1% as consumers bought more appliances and goods from department stores, while eating and drinking more at cafes and restaurants. That more than offset falls in petrol and furniture sales.
While spending tailed off in December, UBS senior economist Robin Clements says consumers reacted to cheaper prices as retailers competed to lure people to spend in their stores.
The New Zealand dollar dipped on the news, falling 0.25 cents to US69.8c on Friday.