Sales totalled $18.9 billion in the June 2015, which is a significant improvement on the previous 2014 result.
Sales increased $749 million from the June 2014 figure.
This follows larger increases of 2.3 percent in the March 2015 quarter and 2.1 percent in the December 2014 quarter.
The largest increase was in non-store and commission-based retailing, up 8.1 percent.
These are businesses that sell online without a shop front or physical bricks and mortar store, such as Mighty Ape.
This suggests retail sales are slowing in the colder months and people are turning to their computers to purchase goods, rather than venturing out.
Johnston says retailers have been reporting much slower growth than earlier in the year.
“There’s a range of reasons for this, including greater economic uncertainty and the particularly bad weather which has impacted sales up and down the country,” Johnston says.
He says the fact New Zealand online-only stores have grown a record 7.9 percent over the past quarter shows Kiwis are increasingly using the internet to do their shopping.
“Retail is a highly competitive business - Kiwi firms are competing not only with each other but also with global ecommerce giants,” Johnston says.
“Spend by New Zealanders on foreign websites is not reported in the Statistics New Zealand data – but is known to be increasing rapidly in terms of value and the number of transactions.”
He says despite the challenges retailers are facing, they’re expect sales to be steady for the next quarter and for jobs to remain stable.