Spending using electronic cards rose sharply in January, recording the largest increase in five years.
Statistics New Zealand figures show spending using debit, credit and charge cards rose a seasonally-adjusted 2.2% last month.
The rise is the largest monthly increase in five years and is mainly due to more spending on food, alcohol, furniture, appliances and hardware.
Excluding fuel and car purchases, spending rose by 2.4%, to $3.9 billion, the largest increase in more than nine years.
ANZ economist Mark Smith says after a poor Christmas shopping season, the retail sector is on the road to recovery.