WASHINGTON — Domestic producers of women’s apparel in August continued to see prices virtually stand still, as retailers continued to trim their inventories and emphasize low prices.
The Labor Department reported Friday that wholesale prices for U.S.-made women’s wear in August edged up a faint 0.1 percent against July. Compared with August 2002, wholesale prices for women’s apparel were unchanged.
Wholesale prices for all apparel in August were unchanged for the month and posted a 0.3 percent decline from year-ago levels. Producer prices for girls’, children’s and infants’ apparel increased 0.5 percent for the month and were up 1 percent over the year.
For all finished goods, producers during August edged up prices 0.4 percent for the month and gained 3.4 percent from August 2002. Wholesale prices are one measure of inflation, which continues to show little power in the current slack economy.
U.S. textile mills in August edged up wholesale prices by 0.3 percent. Compared with a year ago, mill prices grew last month at a tepid 0.2 percent.
For the month, gray fabric prices at the wholesale level fell 0.5 percent in August and compared with 12 months before were off 1.8 percent. However, finished fabric prices in August were up 0.7 percent for the month and rose 0.6 percent over the year.
Among the women’s apparel categories tracked by the government with notable price swings in August were sweaters and jackets, which were unchanged against July but declined 9.4 percent from August 2002.
Dress prices declined 0.1 percent in August against July and were off 1.9 percent from year-ago levels. Suit prices were unchanged for the month and fell 1.7 percent over the year. Slacks and jeans prices also were unchanged for the month and dropped 2.3 percent from August 2003.
Wholesale prices for knit outerwear sport shirts edged up 0.7 percent in August against July, but were off 4.3 percent over the 12 months. Bra prices fell 1 percent for the month and declined 0.9 percent from August 2002.
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