By  on January 17, 2008

WASHINGTON — Low-cost imports and intense competition between stores helped drive retail prices on women's apparel down 0.9 percent in 2007 as increases in energy costs pushed prices on all goods and services up 4.1 percent, well above the 2.5 percent rise in 2006 and the largest jump in 17 years.

Excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, overall retail prices jumped 2.4 percent last year, the Labor Department reported Wednesday in its Consumer Price Index.

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