WASHINGTON — Retail apparel prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent in September compared with August and advanced 1.1 percent against a year earlier, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.
But even with signs that stores generally held prices, stocks in the sector retreated. The S&P Retail Index fell 0.5 percent, or 1.89 points, to 396. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.5 percent, or 47.08 points, to 10,062.94 after passing the 10,000 mark for the first time in more than a year Wednesday.
“Retailers are going to great lengths to avoid being stuck with excessive inventory,” said John Lonski, chief economist at Moody’s Investors Service. “[They] are heeding the readings of a sluggish economy.”
With tightly managed inventory, discounting pressures lessen, Lonski said, helping to stabilize apparel prices.
Women’s apparel prices increased 0.1 percent last month, but fell 0.2 percent compared with September 2008. Men’s apparel prices declined 0.3 percent month-to-month and 0.9 percent year-over-year.
Economists said price trends have not indicated a threat of deflation or inflation. Retail apparel prices declined 0.1 percent in August compared with the previous month after rising 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent in July and June, respectively.
Despite a handful of hopeful signs, including lower jobless claims last week and recent advances in the equity markets, retailers and consumers continue to be cautious and will remain so until the employment picture and credit outlook improve substantially, Lonski said. Retailers are likely to continue to keep a tight rein on inventories moving into the holidays, he said.
Prices for all consumer goods rose 0.2 percent in September, in line with economists’ expectations, but dropped 1.3 percent year-over-year. The core CPI, which excludes the volatile food and energy sectors, advanced 0.2 percent, slightly higher than expectations of a 0.1 percent rise. Core prices advanced 1.5 percent compared with a year earlier.
Boys’ apparel prices declined 3 percent in September, but rose 4.6 percent compared with a year earlier. Girls’ apparel prices rose 1.1 percent month-to-month and 5 percent year-over-year.
Women’s outerwear prices spiked 5.8 percent in September, but fell 3.2 percent over the 12 months. Dress prices fell 5.5 percent month-to-month, but rose 0.2 percent year-to-year. Prices for women’s suits and separates declined 0.6 percent in September and 1.1 percent in 12-month comparisons. The broad women’s underwear, nightwear, sportswear and accessories category saw prices advance 2.6 percent for the month and 2.8 percent year-over-year.
Men’s suits, sport coats and outerwear prices increased 0.5 percent month-to-month, but declined 7 percent compared with a year earlier. Prices for furnishings rose 0.2 percent in September and 1.5 percent in 12-month comparisons. Men’s shirts and sweaters saw prices drop 0.9 percent in monthly comparisons, but were up 1.1 percent for the year. Prices for men’s pants and shorts declined 1.7 percent in September and 0.8 percent compared with a year earlier.
Separately in Washington Thursday, the Obama administration did not label China a currency manipulator in the second of two reports the Treasury Department submits to Congress each year detailing exchange rate policies. According to the report, the Treasury determined that China’s currency is undervalued, but stopped short of accusing the government of manipulating the yuan. But the report said the administration had “serious concerns” about the rigidity of the yuan’s exchange rate and about China’s resumption of its practice of accumulating foreign exchange reserves. Since February, the yuan has depreciated 6.9 percent, according to the Treasury report.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)