Retail sales volumes rose more strongly than expected in the September quarter, with food-related sales leading the way.
Seasonally adjusted sales in the third quarter rose 1.5 percent, compared with a 1.1 percent rise in the June quarter.
The volume of sales at supermarket and grocery stores rose 1.9 percent, while food and beverage sales rose 3 percent.
ASB rural economist Nathan Penny said the sales growth reflected the strength in the overall economy.
"Retail sales were strong in the September quarter, stronger than we expected," he said.
"So overall, pretty good compared to how the economy's going, but nothing stands out as being super-strong, a part from Auckland and Christchurch."
Actual sales volumes rose 4.7 percent, in the three months ended September from the same quarter last year, while the value of sales rose 4.1 percent from the year earlier.