Spending on electronic cards had its biggest monthly rise in a decade, boosted by a booming tourism sector and a swelling population.
Official figures show spending using debit, credit and charge cards, rose 1.9 percent in September - taking seasonal adjustments into account, it was the largest monthly gain since May 2006.
The rise follows a 1.2 percent drop in August.
Compared with September last year, sales rose 6.1 percent to $4.7 billion. The largest increase came from the hospitality industry, up 16 percent to $123 million.
"The hospitality spending increase coincides with an increasing number of international visitors to New Zealand," Statistics NZ spokesperson Neil Kelly said.
A rising population also saw households spend more on durable goods like furniture and whiteware, groceries and alcohol, apparel, fuel and cars.
"You've got low interest rates, a labour market that's getting better, in the housing market homeowners are feeling the net worth gains, and tourism and population rises on top of that. [Those are] clearly big support factors for the retail sector," ANZ senior economist Phil Borkin said.
Core retail spending, which strips out cars and fuel, rose by 2.3 percent - the biggest percentage increase since January 2006.
While the gains appeared impressive, households were showing more restraint than during previous periods of surging house prices and a fast-growing economy, Mr Borkin said.
Electronic card spending makes up about two-thirds of all retail sales.