Spending using credit, debit and charge cards slipped in February, as shoppers remained cautious.
Statistics New Zealand figures show spending using electronic cards fell a seasonally-adjusted 0.3% in the month, after a rise in January.
People spent more on consumables such as food and alcohol but less in restaurants and bars.
Core retail spending, which strips out fuel and vehicle-related purchases, fell 0.5% during the month.
The electronic cards data, which covers about 60% of retail sales, is a key measure of monthly retail activity.
Compared with a year ago, total actual retail sales were up 8.2% against a 4.7% rise in the year to January.