Although consumer prices continued to drift upward in August, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation data, apparel and footwear prices suffered another sizable decline, pressured by the intensely promotional retail environment, share gains by fast fashion and off-price retailers, and consumers’ rising value-consciousness.
The overall consumer price index, or CPI, increased by 0.2% in August on a year-over-year basis, its biggest rise in eight months. The index was flat compared to July.
The core inflation rate, which excludes food and energy, rose by 1.8%, due primarily to increases in housing and medical service costs. The combined apparel and footwear price index fell by 0.9%, its tenth straight month of decline.
The index for clothing dropped by 1.5%, its tenth straight monthly drop but smallest decline in four months. Footwear prices increased by 1.1% in the month, their smallest increase in 14 months.
The decline in apparel prices was due primarily to a 2.5% drop in women’s prices. Retailers continue to cite women’s apparel as one of the weaker areas in the market, and the rapid expansion of fast fashion brands like H&M and Forever 21, and of off-price formats like TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, Saks off Fifth and others is eroding share of traditional retail nameplates. Men’s apparel prices declined by just 1.6%.
Girls’ and boys’ apparel prices fell by 0.1%, while prices for infants and toddlers apparel rose by 5.9%, its biggest monthly jump in more than three years.
At the rate that technology is changing, today's skills will soon be yesterday's news so companies must address the need for ongoing employee education.Read more
The latest sourcing country to see its wage rates rise is Mauritius, where garment workers will take home more than double their previous pay starting in January.Read more
The global economy will expand in 2018, matching the rate of growth achieved in 2017 and marking the first time since 2011 that global growth topped 3 percent, according to an annual forecast by business information provider IHS Markit.Read more
Mozambique is working with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) to take its domestic cotton sector to the next level with additional environmental efforts.Read more
Consumers are spending more and shopping earlier this holiday season, providing hope for a strong performance throughout the balance of the shopping period.Read more
Terry Lundgren, Macy’s executive chairman, is retiring from the company’s board, plus Nike added two new executives to elevate its digital and retail teams.Read more
Omnichannel is more than just a buzzword—it's a necessary strategy for survival but too many retailers are struggling amid the current retail turmoil to keep up with consumer demands for a seamless experience.Read more