WASHINGTON — Seasonally adjusted wholesale prices for U.S.-made women's and girls' apparel held steady in December, compared with November, as prices on all domestically made goods fell 0.1 percent.
For all of 2007, however, women's and girls' apparel prices rose 0.9 percent as wholesale prices across the economy raced ahead 6.3 percent, according to the Labor Department's Producer Price Index, released Tuesday. The overall increase was driven by higher energy and food costs and was the largest such jump in 26 years. Excluding food and energy goods, wholesale prices were up 2 percent for the year.
Faced with the fallout in housing prices, the subprime mortgage crisis, the attendant credit crunch on Wall Street and signs of weakening job growth and tepid consumer spending, the Federal Reserve Board is still expected to emphasize the slowing economy rather than inflation when setting interest rate policy.
"Although upside risks to inflation remain, there is nothing in today's report to blunt the wave of enthusiasm for a full 50-basis-point reduction in the target federal funds rate," said Kenneth Beauchemin, U.S. economist for Global Insight, in an analysis.
Led by chairman Ben Bernanke, the Fed reduced its benchmark Fed funds interest rate three times and 100 basis points since September to 4.25 percent. Lowering rates further would make it cheaper for consumers and businesses to borrow money and could both stimulate economic growth and fuel higher prices.
Economists will get another reading on inflation, the type visible to the average shopper, when the Consumer Price Index is released today. That report will give a broader reading on apparel prices, since more than 90 percent of the apparel sold in the U.S. is made abroad.
Within the women's and girls' category, December wholesale prices on knit shirts and blouses rose 1.1 percent versus a year earlier, while dresses were up 0.9 percent and underwear increased 0.7 percent.
Among textile producers, synthetic fiber prices were flat last month, versus December 2006, as yarns were up 3.6 percent, greige fabrics rose 1.8 percent and finished fabrics were ahead 1.6 percent.
“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
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
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The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye