WASHINGTON — Women’s retail apparel prices surged a seasonally adjusted 2.1 percent in July — the largest monthly increase in prices since March 2006 — but a decrease in prices from last year indicates that inflation might not be the only force at work, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday in its Consumer Price Index.
Women’s apparel prices last month fell 1.4 percent compared with July 2007. Retail prices for all apparel increased 1.2 percent in July compared with June and 0.8 percent compared with the same period a year ago.
The price increases for the month were primarily due to less discounting than expected by retailers, said Jessica Penvose, an analyst with the Labor Department. Penvose noted women’s apparel and jewelry increases had the largest impact on overall apparel prices.
Within women’s apparel, the largest price increases were in the dress category, which shot up 5.5 percent from June. Women’s outerwear increased 2.8 percent, women’s suits and separates grew 1.8 percent and the combined category of women’s underwear, nightwear, sportswear and accessories was up 1 percent.
In yearly price comparisons, results were more modest. Women’s dresses were up 0.1 percent and outerwear increased 0.2 percent. Prices for suits and separates fell 2 percent, and the underwear, nightwear, sportswear and accessories category slid 1.1 percent.
Girls’ apparel prices increased 1.8 percent from June and were flat compared with last year. Jewelry was up 1.9 percent.
While total apparel prices in July were “soaring,” there is no certainty economic forces are the only thing in play, said Charles McMillion, president and chief economist at MBG Information Services.
“This could partly be a sign of higher-priced imports due to the decline in the value of the dollar, but it appears largely a function of changing seasonal adjustment patterns,” McMillion said. “Apparel prices are up just 0.8 percent year over year and virtually unchanged since January.”
Some observers saw the price increases as a sign of future stress for the industry.
“Clearly, apparel prices are starting to percolate,” said Richard Yamarone, chief economist at Argus Research Corp. “I think this is just the beginning of a considerable upward trend in prices for apparel, accessories, footwear and related items.”
As manufacturing and shipping costs increase due to rising fuel prices, labor costs and other elements, the prices of apparel items could continue to go up, he said.
The so-called “core prices,” which exclude the more volatile food and energy sectors, increased 0.3 percent in July compared with June and 2.5 percent from a year earlier. Consumer prices on all goods, including food and energy, increased 0.8 percent in July. In June, consumer prices surged 1.1 percent, the largest increase in 26 years, further stoking fears of an inflationary spiral and causing the Federal Reserve Board to indicate it is unlikely to make any additional moves on interest rates for the remainder of the year.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)