WASHINGTON – Women’s retail apparel prices eased down in May, dropped a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent from the prior month and falling 4.4 percent from a year ago.

Prices for all apparel, including girls’, men’s and boys’, dropped 0.3 percent compared to a month ago and 0.6 percent from the prior year.

Retail prices for all consumer goods increased in May, climbing a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent from April and 4.2 percent from last year, led by increased energy costs. Core prices, excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, grew 0.2 percent from the previous month and 2.3 percent versus last year.

The largest monthly drop in apparel was in the dress category, where prices fell 6.1 percent in May versus April. They increased, however, compared to last year, rising 1.9 percent. Women’s outerwear prices decreased 1.8 percent on a month-to-month comparison and tumbled 8.5 percent from last year. Girls’ apparel prices increased 0.3 percent from April and suits and separates were 0.1 percent higher.

However, compared to May 2007, girls’ apparel prices fell 7.6 percent and suits and separates decreased 6 percent.

For more, see Monday’s issue of WWD.

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