The $19.3 billion figure is almost $1 billion more than in March 2014.
Total retail sales rose 7.4 percent in the March quarter compared with the same time last year.
“This is the largest volume increase in dollar terms since this series began just over a decade ago,” Islam says.
The last time all of the industries had rises in the same quarter was December 2006.
After removing seasonal effects, total retail trade rose a record 2.7 percent.
One of the standout performers was electronics, up 8.9 percent after seasonal adjustments.
It hit almost $100 million in sales.
“Our discussions with retailers suggest that there’s no one thing in particular behind [the increase], but there may be a strengthening back-to-school effect,” Islam says.
“This seems to mean that spending on things like laptops and tablets is having an impact on overall spending at the start of the school year.”
Hardware, building and garden supplies were the next best performing, up 3.9 percent. Supermarkets and grocery stores were also up 1.2 percent.
Fuel retailing was up 3.5 percent, bolstered by cheaper fuel prices earlier this year.
The volume of sales in core retail (excluding vehicle-related industries) rose 2.9 percent.
Overall sales were also up in both the North and South Islands.
Statistics New Zealand says looking at the long-term picture, trends in total retail sales volumes and values have been rising since mid-2009.