Retailers are looking to raise prices after the majority of them had a poor start to the year.
A quarterly report by Retail New Zealand said 55 percent of retailers did not meet their financial targets in the first three months of 2019.
As a result, 40 percent of them said they expected to raise prices this year to offset the increased cost of doing business, including a higher minimum wage.
Retail New Zealand chief executive Greg Harford said competition had historically kept a lid on prices, but that was set to change.
"Retailers are taking lower margin on products and that is a concern because average net margins across the sector are actually really low."
The net margin across the retail sector was 3.7 percent with motor vehicle parts retailers seeing the slimmest margins, while clothing and footwear retailers reporting the fattest margins.
Mr Harford said retailers were looking to cut costs by not replacing staff immediately.