The latest figures indicate people are starting to spend a little more at the shops, but some economists warn rising unemployment will curb any recovery.
The seasonally adjusted value of electronic retail card transactions rose 0.3% to $3.7 billion in April, with the main contributions coming from food, alcohol and pharmacy products, Statistics New Zealand says.
Excluding car and fuel sales, transactions rose 0.5%.
Electronic card spending, which includes debit, credit and charge cards, covers around two-thirds of retail sales.
Overall, the seasonally adjusted value of all electronic card transactions rose 0.7% to $4.7 billion in April.
Goldman Sachs JB Were strategist Bernard Doyle says the figures are consistent with other signals that the economic dive is passed its worst. However, unemployment and job insecurity will curtail some of the positive moves, he says.