WASHINGTON — Retail apparel prices weakened in September, after three consecutive months of increases, as overall consumer prices inched up slightly, the U.S. Labor Department reported Wednesday in its Consumer Price Index.
Prices on all apparel sold at retail fell a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent last month. Women’s retail apparel prices declined 1.5 percent, while prices for men’s apparel were down 0.6 percent. Girl’s apparel prices rose 1.4 percent last month, while boy’s apparel prices increased 0.6 percent.
Within the women’s category, retail prices for the broad category that includes underwear, nightwear, sportswear and accessories fell 2.4 percent in September, while prices for suits and separates dropped 1.7 percent. Prices for dresses shot up 5.3 percent, while retail prices for outerwear rose 3.4 percent.
In men’s wear, prices for pants and shorts fell 3.2 percent, while prices for shirts and sweaters dipped 0.7 percent. Prices for the combined category of suits, sport coats and outerwear rose 0.8 percent, while prices for furnishings were flat.
“When you have a run-up in prices for a few months straight, retailers do not need to raise their prices again and they also want to be a little cautious about not scaring the customer away,” said Jeet Dutta, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics. “They are taking a breather and allowing customers to absorb the price increases that have already taken place.”
Dutta said retail spending in general has not been healthy, which has played a role in keeping prices “subdued.”
“Given that we have not had very strong job growth — it has been modest at best — and wage gains have been paltry, most observers don’t expect retail spending to gallop ahead at a very strong pace,” Dutta said.
Moody’s is forecasting the overall CPI to advance less than 2 percent at an annualized rate for the next few months, based on softness in industrial prices further downstream, as well as in import prices, he noted.
“There is not a whole lot of need for retailers to raise pricing and very recently we saw consumer confidence take some hits, so that would make retailers even more cautious with pricing so as not to discourage consumers even more,” Dutta said.
The overall CPI edged ahead 0.2 percent in September and was up 0.1 percent in August. The core index, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, was up 0.1 percent last month.
“Soggy demand, weak energy prices, reversal of post-drought price gains in food, and relatively high unemployment rates are all slowly cooling price pressures,” said Chris J. Christopher, U.S economist at IHS Global Insight. “If one takes out food and energy prices, the picture is very subdued.…As we head into the holiday season, we expect retailers to start some heavy discounting in order to entice heavier spending by the American consumer.”
@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)