Retail spending rose marginally in February boosted by a 6.7% jump in fuel sales.
Statistics New Zealand says total sales rose 0.2% in the month following a 1.2% fall in January.
Vehicle sales fell 3.2% in February.
Once vehicle-related sales were removed, spending was down 0.1%.
RBC Capital Markets senior economist Su-Lin Ong says the figures are consistent with a likely contraction in the overall economy in the first quarter.