U.S. consumers are increasingly shopping at discount stores, a sign that families are feeling the pinch from highest inflation since the 1990s as the holiday season approaches.

Spending at discount stores was up 65% last week compared with 2019, and 21% from the prior week, according to Facteus, a firm that tracks credit and debit card transactions. The discount-stores category, which includes Dollar Tree Inc. and Five Below Inc., had the largest increase by far among all types of retailers, Facteus data show.

The sharp uptick suggests that consumers, especially lower-income households, sought lower prices wherever they could find them last week. The last time discount stores saw a large increase in spending was in March, when all retailers benefited from a $1.9 trillion relief program that sent new stimulus checks to millions of households.

Now that relief programs have expired, Americans are hunting for deals. While wages have also risen during this year, the increase in prices for everything from energy and rent to food and vehicles has eaten into those gains.

U.S. consumer prices rose 6.2% last month from a year earlier, according to Labor Department data released Wednesday, cementing high inflation as a hallmark of the pandemic recovery.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.