Retail spending using electronic cards has snapped three consecutive months of decline, with people spending more on eating out and durable items like furniture and appliances.
Official figures show seasonally adjusted spending, using debit, credit and charge cards, rose 1 percent to $4.74 billion in February, compared with the previous month.
Statistics New Zealand said people spent more on most things, including fuel, which rose for the first time in three months, due to rising prices.
Excluding cars and fuel, core retail spending rose 1.2 percent.
ASB Economist Nathan Penny said cheaper fuel, low mortgage rates and employment growth were underpinning robust household spending.
"Overall it's a pretty good result for the retail sector," he said.
Compared to a year ago, the pace of core spending rose by nearly 7 percent.
Spending using electronic cards accounted for two-thirds of all retail spending.