WASHINGTON — Economic pressure on retail prices kept inflationary fears to a minimum in May, with the sharpest year-over-year decline in the Consumer Price Index since January 1950.
Retail apparel prices dropped for the third consecutive month, falling a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent, while increasing 0.8 percent compared with a year earlier, the Labor Department said Wednesday in its CPI. Apparel prices also declined 0.2 percent in March and April.
Men’s apparel prices increased 0.2 percent in May and rose 0.4 percent year-to-year. Women’s apparel prices fell 0.8 percent last month, but rose 0.7 percent compared with May 2008. Different categories in apparel carry more significance in calculating the price increases and declines.
Prices for all goods and services increased a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent in May, but fell 1.3 percent in 12-month comparisons, primarily because of lower energy costs. The so-called core prices, which exclude the volatile food and energy sectors, rose 0.1 percent.
“Today’s report on consumer prices suggests very little, if any, pressure on consumer prices,” said Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist at IHS Global Insight. “The inflation genie remains well contained in the bottle and we should not expend a lot of energy worrying about it escaping under current depressed business cycle conditions.”
Overall prices dropped in a few categories, including apparel, Bethune noted, but most retail prices were in “slumber mode” and barely moved in May, he said.
Rather than inflation-affected retail prices, deflationary pressures seem to be spreading to a number of categories, said Charles McMillion, president and chief economist at MBG Information Services.
Retail prices for women’s outwear fell 3.4 percent month-to-month, but were up 4.9 percent compared with a year ago. The cost of suits and separates declined 1.5 percent in May and 1 percent year-over-year. The broad underwear, nightwear, sportswear and accessories category saw prices climb 0.2 percent in May and 0.8 percent in the 12 months. The cost of women’s dresses rose 5.1 percent in May and 7.7 percent year-to-year. Girls’ apparel prices increased 3.8 percent compared with April and 0.7 percent from a year earlier.
Men’s suits, sport coats and outerwear prices increased 1.6 percent in May, but fell 4.9 percent from a year earlier. Retail prices for men’s furnishings were down 2.3 percent in May, but rose 1 percent year-over-year. Shirts and sweaters increased 2 percent month-to-month and 1.2 percent year-to-year. Prices for pants and shorts were flat from the previous month, and rose 3.3 percent from a year earlier. Boys’ apparel rose 1.4 percent in May and 1.2 percent year-over-year.
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)