That doesn’t mean, however, that consumer behavior has been unchanged since the economy began to recover last year from lockdown. It turns out that more shoppers are now looking to save money.
Last week, the CEO of discount store Dollar General said that the company is experiencing an influx of high income shoppers.
“The highest trade-in that we’ve seen and the most robust has actually been between the $75,000 and $100,000 group,” said CEO Todd Vasos at a retail conference on Wednesday, CNN first reported.
Dollar General did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.
The retail chain isn’t the only discounter to see a recent uptick in spending among high earning consumers.
Last month, Walmart reported surprisingly positive earnings after earlier forecasts suggested that pandemic-era supply chain problems would continue to impact sales. Instead, the company’s second-quarter sales rose 8.4%.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillan said on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street that a significant portion of those sales came from wealthier families. “People are really price-focused now, regardless of income level,” he said. “And the longer this lasts, the more that’s going to be the case.”
The shift in spending to discount retailers could signal trouble ahead for the wider U.S. economy. Bank of America, in a research report released last month, noted that food retailers typically do well during periods of high inflation, and that Walmart, in particular, outperformed the S&P 500 during the last five recessions.
Inflation rose 0.1% between July and August, according to the most recent Consumer Price Index report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and 8.3% year-over year.
While that headline inflation rate is still below the most recent four-decade peak of 9.1% in June, experts told Fortune that persistent high prices across sectors signals that the Federal Reserve has its work cut out for it through the end of this year.
The bank has already instituted four rate hikes this year, including two 75 basis point hikes that were its biggest since 1994. While the bank’s policy-setting committee did not meet in August, it’s scheduled to meet later this month.
Sign up for the Fortune Features email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews, and investigations.