WASHINGTON — Retail apparel prices declined a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent in October compared with September, but increased 1.4 percent from a year ago, the Labor Department said Wednesday in its Consumer Price Index.
Women’s apparel prices rose 0.3 percent in the month and advanced 2.1 percent year-over-year. Men’s apparel prices declined 0.1 percent month-to-month and fell 1 percent in 12-month comparisons.
The overall CPI was up 0.3 percent for the month, but declined 0.2 percent compared with a year earlier. The so-called core index, which excludes the volatile food and energy sectors, rose 0.2 percent month-to-month and advanced 1.7 percent compared with October 2008.
“Inflation looks pretty benign, and then I look at apparel and it looks very benign,” said Philip Swagel, visiting professor at McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and a former top economist for the Treasury Department.
Apparel prices were down in most categories for October, Swagel said. Retail prices for women’s outerwear declined 0.3 percent and 3.1 percent compared with a year ago. Dress prices were down 0.7 percent, but rose 1 percent year-over-year. Women’s suits and separates dropped 0.7 percent, but rose 0.6 percent in 12-month comparisons. The broad women’s underwear, nightwear, sportswear and accessories category saw prices rise 1.8 percent in October and spike 7.6 percent year-to-year.
Men’s suits, sport coats and outerwear prices increased 1.3 percent, but fell 4.1 percent year-over-year. Men’s furnishings rose 1.1 percent and 2.2 percent in 12-month comparisons. Men’s shirts and sweaters declined 1.2 percent and 1.4 percent year-over-year.
Girls’ apparel declined 5.1 percent and rose 0.5 percent compared with a year earlier. Boys’ apparel prices declined 2.6 percent month-to-month, but rose 3 percent in 12-month comparisons.
To some extent, lower prices in October could indicate that retailers are responding to consumers’ search for value, Swagel said. Retailers report that consumers are coming into stores and starting to spend, but doing so cautiously because economic headwinds continue to slow the recovery, he said.
“The October report on consumer prices indicates very little pressure on core consumer prices,” said Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist at IHS Global Insight.
The lack of pressure will allow the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low, Bethune said, which will help until signs of a sustained economic rebound strengthen.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)