WASHINGTON — Retail apparel prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent in December compared with November and advanced 1.9 percent from a year earlier, according the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index.
Women’s apparel prices increased 0.6 percent month-to-month and were up 2.9 percent year-over-year. Men’s apparel declined 0.3 percent in December, but rose 0.5 percent in 12-month comparisons.
Labor Department economist Jessica Penvose confirmed apparel discounts in December weren’t as steep as in previous years, which helped drive up prices.
“Our numbers seem to support retail sales data,” Penvose said. “Retailers were not discounting as much [in December].”
Charles McMillion, president and chief economist of MBG Information Services, said retailers took earlier, deeper discounts in October and November, and December numbers reflected that adjustment.
The overall CPI, released Friday, was up 0.1 percent in December and rose 2.7 percent compared with a year ago.
Despite some price increases, overall inflation concerns are “effectively dormant,” said Brian Bethune, chief financial economist for IHS Global Insight. For all of 2009, the CPI declined 0.4 percent, Bethune said, which is “a deflationary landmark that we have not seen since 1955.”
Women’s apparel prices rose in both monthly and yearly comparisons. Retail prices for women’s outerwear gained 3.6 percent in December and 4.8 percent versus a year earlier. Women’s dress prices were up 0.5 percent month-to-month and 1.3 percent year-over-year.
Retail prices for men’s suits, sport coats and outerwear increased 0.6 percent in December, but fell 2 percent compared with a year earlier. Men’s furnishings declined 1 percent, but rose 1.6 percent year-over-year.
The firmness of prices notwithstanding, retail stocks finished a down week with another decline. The S&P Retail Index dropped 0.3 percent Friday, less than the major indices, to finish at 408.30, bringing the decrease for the week to 2.1 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.1 percent to 10,609.65, the S&P 500 slid 0.8 percent to 1,136.03 and the Nasdaq Composite 1.3 percent to 2,287.99. While London’s FTSE 100 dipped 1.4 percent to 5,455.37, the CAC 40 in Paris fell 2.2 percent to 3,954.38, slipping below the 4,000 mark, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 2.9 percent to 21,654.16. However, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose for the week, advancing 1.7 percent to 10.982.1.
Among the 172 public firms tracked by WWD, 101 were down and 67 up while four were flat.
On Monday, while U.S. markets were off for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, Asian markets stalled while Europe’s rallied. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo was off 1.2 percent to 10,855.08 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gave up 0.9 percent to land at 21,460.01. But the CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.6 percent to 3,977.46 and the FTSE 100 gained 0.7 percent to 5,494.39.
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)