Higher spending by tourists continued to bolster retailers last month.

Figures from Paymark show February spending was up 2.2 per cent to $4.861 billion on a year ago despite February 2016 having an extra day in it.

The biggest increase in spending was through fuel retailers which saw a 19.3 per cent jump while clothing and footwear retailers saw no growth.

The hospitality sector also saw spending growth with accommodation spending up 10.9 per cent and food and beverage spend up 8.4 per cent.


While spending dipped between January and February a strong increase in January means spending is still growing on average this year.

"Combined, the average per month growth in the first two months of the year shows the growth momentum of recent years has been maintained although the rate has slowed slightly."

Hawke's Bay, Palmerston North and Bay of Plenty saw the biggest growth in spending while it fell in Marlborough, Kaikoura and Canterbury.

Spending in Auckland grew 1.3 per cent.

Spending on foreign-issued credit cards rose faster than New Zealand cards over the four months to February.

Foreign-issued credit cards were used for payments of $1.070 billion payments through the Paymark network between November 2016 and February 2017.

The underlying growth for foreign-issued cards was 6.5 per cent while the growth for all cards was 5.5 per cent over the four months although foreign-card spending only made up 5.2 per cent of the total spend.

Accommodation and food and beverage businesses benefited the most from the higher tourist spend while gift shops and duty free outlets only had a slight boost.