Shoppers pinched pennies in September, reflected in the lower total value of electronic card transactions.
The latest Statistics New Zealand data shows the seasonally adjusted value of transactions was down 1 per cent in core retail industries compared to August.
Consumers put $5.5 billion on plastic last month in 108 million transactions across all industries. The average value of eftpos, charge card and credit card purchases was $51.
Industry and labour statistics manager for Statistics New Zealand Blair Cardno said card spending fell in all six retail industries in September, with durables having the largest fall.
"This is a turnaround from August, when spending rose for all retail industries."
Retail spending pulled back 0.8 per cent, a slump after shoppers splurged by 0.5 per cent more in August.
The durables category, including furniture and appliances, was hit hardest, down $37 million or 3.4 per cent from August. Economic research agency Infometrics said durable-goods spending had been incredibly volatile over recent months.
There was $673m spent on hospitality, a slight dip from $675m in August. Apparel retailers received $279m, down from $283m.
About $6m less was spent on fuel, with all other retail industries seeing drops of $4m or less.
Total card spending fell 0.4 per cent.
Westpac senior economist Felix Delbruck said the electronic cards data for the last three months pointed to a slower pace of retail spending in the September quarter than in June, but consumer confidence remained at a "fairly high level".
Infometrics senior economist Matt Nolan expected the current stall in spending to be temporary, with rising employment and incomes helping boost consumer spending during 2014.
"However, if the introduction of loan-to value limits for mortgages credit constrains households more heavily than we have allowed for, there is a risk that consumer spending, especially on credit-sensitive durable goods, will remain weak."
- © Fairfax NZ News