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WASHINGTON — Wholesale prices for domestically produced women’s apparel in August continued to show little strength, increasing 0.2 percent against July, the Labor Department reported Friday in its Producer Price Index.

This story first appeared in the September 16, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Compared with August 2001, women’s apparel prices at the producer level last month declined 2.3 percent.

Wholesale prices for all U.S.-produced apparel increased 0.2 percent for the month and fell 1.7 percent from year-ago levels. Prices for girls’, children’s and infants’ apparel at the producer level declined 0.4 percent in August against July, but increased 1.8 percent from August 2001.

The wholesale price index for all U.S. manufactured goods remained unchanged in August against July, showing the lack of inflationary pressures at the producer level. However, within the index, there was a 1 percent rise in energy prices reflecting turmoil in the Middle East. The energy price surge was offset in the index by a 0.4 decline in food prices.

Among the women’s apparel categories tracked by the government with notable wholesale price swings in August were sweaters, jackets and jersey. That category’s prices were unchanged for the month, but fell 13.5 percent from August 2001. Prices for knit outerwear sport shirts, including sweatshirts, dipped 0.3 percent in August against July and dropped 4.8 percent during the 12 months.

Wholesale prices for slacks and jeans were unchanged for the month and were down 3.4 percent from year-ago levels. Posting the largest monthly increase were dresses, up 0.7 percent. However, compared with August 2001, dress prices last month were down 2.7 percent.