WASHINGTON — Wholesale prices for U.S.-made apparel rose 0.2 percent in November compared with October, and increased 0.3 percent versus a year earlier, the Labor Department said Tuesday in its Producer Price Index.
This story first appeared in the December 16, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Women’s apparel prices advanced 0.2 percent in month-to-month and year-to-year comparisons. Men’s apparel prices were flat in November compared with the previous month, but gained 0.8 percent from a year ago.
Prices for all U.S.-made goods and services increased 1.8 percent in November, driven primarily by a temporary spike in the cost of fuel.
“There is nothing in this report that points to incipient or sustained pressure on broad prices in the economy,” said Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist at IHS Global Insight.
The PPI for apparel is not a true indicator of apparel industry price fluctuations because of the small percentage of U.S.-made goods sold at retail. The Consumer Price Index, to be released today, is a stronger measure because it includes prices for all goods, including imports.
Domestic prices for women’s knit shirts and blouses were flat compared with October and declined 0.2 percent year-over-year. Woven shirt and blouse prices rose 0.1 percent month-to-month, but fell 2.1 percent in 12-month comparisons. Dress prices were flat, and declined 0.6 percent compared with a year ago. Tailored jackets and vests dipped 0.1 percent in month-to-month and year-to-year comparisons. Prices for women’s jeans and slacks advanced 0.5 percent in month-to-month and year-over-year comparisons.
Prices for men’s work clothing and knit shirts were flat in November, but advanced 4.3 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, versus a year ago. Men’s woven shirt prices declined 0.4 percent, but rose 0.6 percent compared with November 2008. Men’s suits increased 0.1 percent and 1.4 percent in 12-month comparisons.
Apparel fabric prices were flat compared with October, but fell 2.2 percent from a year ago. Goods made at textile product mills, mostly home furnishings and industrial fabric, declined 0.1 percent month-to-month, but advanced 1.7 percent in 12-month comparisons.
Deeper in the pipeline, domestic synthetic fiber prices decreased 0.9 percent in November and 3.6 percent compared with a year earlier. Yarns fell 0.2 percent, and 4.1 percent year-over-year. Greige fabric and finished fabric prices were flat in November, but fell 2.4 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, compared with November 2008.