The United States Department of Commerce states retail prices have increased significantly over the last year, and may be driving shoppers to choose other store options.By Casey Albritton

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – More holiday shoppers are heading to thrift stores.

The United States Department of Commerce states retail prices have increased significantly over the last year, and may be driving shoppers to choose other store options.

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At Second Image Thrift Store, managers say they’re seeing about 50% more shoppers compared to this time last year and they say it may be because of rising retail prices, or even the housing market.

Searching through the clothes on racks at thrifts stores is becoming a lot more popular this year as Tampa Bay residents try to save as much money as they can.

Annette Karcher-Vancamp works for Second Image Thrift Store and says “I think people are trying to navigate their money to make it go further.”

Vancamp says she’s seeing more people walk inside the store for holiday gifts.

“I would say at least a good 50 percent. Whatever I was doing last year, I’m doing 50% more,” said Vancamp.

She says there could be several reasons for the increase, including the rising prices in the housing and rental market.

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“It’s difficult for people when they have to make those decisions and say I need a roof over my head, I need it for my family, so where am I basically going to budget?” said Vancamp.

You may have also noticed retail prices going up too. The United States Department of Commerce states retail and food sale prices have increase about 6% compared to this time last year.

Vancamp says the pandemic is playing a role too, causing people to be more frugal with their money. But then there’s also back-orders and stocking issues happening.

“A lot of those stores are not going to be having that, so we are filling a lot of those types of needs. Just those things that you would think you’d see normally, you aren’t seeing,” said Vancamp.

Amanda Bevis with the Florida Retail Federation says “We know that there are issues with logistics and supply channels, however, we know a lot of Florida retailers have done a lot to stock up this season.”

She says shopping has also gone up between 8.5% and 10.5% compared to last year. Shopper, Aylena Casey, says with such high demand and supply issues in stores, you may want to consider another option.

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“It’s best just to go to your local thrift store and find what you want or what you need at lower cost,” said Casey.