WASHINGTON — The deepening recession exacted its toll on consumer prices in December.
Retail prices of apparel fell a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent compared with November and were down 1 percent from a year ago, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday in its Consumer Price Index.
Women’s apparel prices declined 1.4 percent and slumped 3.5 percent compared with the previous year. Men’s apparel prices slid 1.6 percent and dropped 1.5 percent year-over-year.
“It doesn’t look good for retailers. It looks like they’re getting hit from every conceivable angle,” said Richard Yamarone, director of research at Argus Research Corp.
Retailers face increased pressures from lower consumer demand, escalating minimum wages and challenges raising cash in the troubled credit markets, and have been forced to cut prices to deal with increased competition, he said.
“You’re going to see tens of thousands of retail jobs lost, tens of thousands of store closings and you’re going to see dozens of bankruptcies,” Yamarone added.
Prices for all goods and services dropped 0.7 percent in December — the third consecutive monthly decline — and rose 0.1 percent in 12-month comparisons, the smallest year-over-year increase since 1954. Core inflation — excluding the volatile food and energy sectors — was zero in December and increased 1.8 percent over the past 12 months.
“Inflation, seemingly so worrying just a few months ago, has vanished; deflation is now the threat,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight. “Deflation is a pernicious, continuing decline in prices across the board. To assess deflation risks, we must look at core inflation, which has now vanished. The downturn in consumer spending has sent prices of many consumer goods tumbling, notably vehicles and clothing.”
Prices dropped across the board in women’s apparel. Women’s outerwear fell 4.9 percent in December and slid 0.9 percent year-over-year. Dress prices declined 1.1 percent and declined 4 percent for the year. Suits and separates dipped 0.7 percent and fell 5.3 percent year-over-year. The broad underwear, nightwear, sportswear and accessories category was down 0.2 percent in December and 0.3 percent for the year. Girls’ apparel prices slid 2.2 percent and sank 4.4 percent for the year.
Men’s apparel prices fluctuated. Men’s suits, sport coats and outerwear declined 2.5 percent in December and dropped 4.4 percent in the 12-month period. Shirts and sweaters were down 3.1 percent and 4 percent for the year. Men’s pants and shorts prices sank 1.7 percent and declined 3.4 percent year-over-year. Men’s furnishings increased 0.9 percent and spiked 5.8 percent for the 12 months. Boys’ apparel was up 3 percent for the month and 0.2 percent in the 12-month comparison.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews