WASHINGTON — Retail apparel prices rose for the first time in three months in May, increasing a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent, primarily driven by an uptick in the men’s and girls’ areas.
The increase in May came off of a three-month slide in retail apparel prices that began in February, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released its monthly Consumer Price Index report on Tuesday.
Women’s apparel prices bucked the trend and declined 0.4 percent in May. Within the category, dress prices dropped 1.8 percent last month, while prices for suits and separates slid 1.3 percent and combined prices for underwear, nightwear, sportswear and accessories fell 0.2 percent. The outerwear category showed the only pricing strength in May, with a 3.4 percent increase.
Men’s apparel prices were up 0.2 percent. In that category, prices for shirts and sweaters rose 1.3 percent, while prices for pants and shorts increased 0.6 percent and prices for furnishings rose 0.4 percent.
Combined prices for suits, sport coats and outerwear fell 1 percent. Girls’ apparel prices were up 1 percent, while boys’ apparel prices dipped 0.3 percent.
“We have had three straight months of negative readings in the apparel index,” said Jeet Dutta, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, with apparel prices falling 0.1 percent in February, 1 percent in March and 0.3 percent in April.
“Taking a slightly longer view, it does seem apparel prices have been quite stable,” Dutta said, noting prices were up an unadjusted 0.2 percent compared with May 2012. “This is one category where you would not typically expect a lot of pricing power because a lot of manufacturing has moved overseas and there is a lot of price competition among those vendors. Aside from the month-to-month fluctuations, you would not expect there to be a steady or persistent price power in this category, and that is what you have seen over the past year.”
The overall CPI also rose 0.1 percent in May, after falling 0.4 percent in April. The core CPI, excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, edged up 0.2 percent last month.
“The overall consumer price picture is quite flat, near roughly 1.5 percent annual inflation, down from about 2 percent a year ago,” said Michael Montgomery, U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight. “Consumers may not notice that minor deceleration, but they may notice that their grocery bill stopped climbing and gasoline prices are flat. Inflation has faded to only a minor irritant, and that could put consumers into a better frame of mind until they realize that their next pay raise will likely be equally restrained.”
@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)