Retail spending using electronic cards has edged down for the second successive month.
Official figures show seasonally adjusted spending using debit, credit and charge cards fell to $4.7 billion in December, a drop of 0.1 percent compared with the previous month.
Statistics New Zealand says falling fuel prices meant people spent less filling their vehicles, which offset a rise in food and drink purchases.
Spending on fuel last month fell 3.2 percent, or by $23 million, as crude oil prices dropped to six-year lows.
Excluding cars and fuel, core retail spending rose 0. 1 percent.
Spending on consumables, such as food and alcohol, jumped 0.8 percent. Despite reports of financial strife hurting clothing retailers, with the 37-store Shanton chain going into voluntary administration, clothing purchases jumped 2.4 percent.
Compared to a year ago, the pace of core spending accelerated to 5 percent.
In unadjusted terms, card-holders made 139 million transactions across all industries in December, with an average value of $54.
Spending using electronic cards accounts for two-thirds of all retail spending.
Fuel prices fall again
Fuel prices tumbled for the third time in three days, today - the 22nd consecutive drop since October.
BP cut the price of both 91 and diesel by a further three cents a litre, leaving 91 at about $1.73 and diesel at about $1.08.
Z dropped its prices by two cents to virtually the same levels.
That followed falls of four cents yesterday and two cents the day before.