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.”
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion