Retail spending in July was "strong", with the underlying value of payments up 11.4 per cent, according to the latest data from Paymark.
Spending grew in most retail sectors in July, particularly in cafes, restaurants and bars.
Accommodation merchants in the regions also enjoyed strong spending for the first time in recent months and after lockdown restrictions lifted.
Paymark figures show the accommodation spend was above last year levels in the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Wanganui, Wairarapa, Marlborough, Nelson, West Coast and South Canterbury. Despite this, the overall spend in the category was 10.9 per cent below July 2019 levels.
Accommodation merchants in Southland and Otago were still running below year-ago levels, suggesting the strong domestic school holiday surge outside the major centres was not enough to counter the international downturn in all tourism hotspots, Paymark said.
Spending at travel merchants in the month remained well below last year's levels.