Business leaders say that while confidence is up, retail is still unpredictable.
However, overall fears of the economy going back into recession are easing.
The latest quarterly survey of business opinion by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research shows a lift in optimism for the last three months of 2010.
There was an increase in trading activity although it was patchy and largely in the upper North Island.
Business New Zealand describes the trade and retail markets as still very much a fluke. The Noel Leeming Group says business is still a case of good and bad weeks.
The Employers & Manufacturers Association says it does not expect companies to seriously begin hiring for at least another six months.