Women’s Apparel Keeps Getting Cheaper

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The long stretch of falling womenswear prices doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon.

The U.S. Labor Department’s latest Consumer Price Index (CPI), released Friday, revealed that apparel inched up 0.2% in August—a meagre increase, yes, but clothing prices have only fallen three out of the last seven months. In fact, prices are up 0.3% in the 12 months ended Aug. 31 compared to last year.

By category, men’s apparel prices rose 1.2% last month (suits, sport coats and outerwear registered the biggest increases) and prices for boys’ clothing crept up 0.4%. On a year-over-year basis, prices are up 1.1% in menswear and 3.2% in boyswear.

The same can’t be said for womenswear which fell 2.4% overall last month, with prices declining in all major categories: outerwear dropped 6.6%, dresses decreased 1.9%, women’s suits and separates were down 2 percent and intimates, sleep and sportswear slipped 1.8%. On a year-over-year basis, womenswear prices are down 0.4%.

Girls’ apparel prices rose 3.9% in August—a massive improvement from July when girlswear prices fell 5.5%, but still down 2.8% versus last year.

Overall, the CPI—which is what people pay for food, clothing, fuels and other goods and services—increased 0.2% in August and it’s up 1.1% over the last year. By comparison, the index for all items was flat in July and increased 0.2% in both June and May.


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