THE UGLY NUMBERS

WASHINGTON — The record 4.4 percent decline in retail women’s apparel prices in 1994 follows increases of 2 percent in 1993 and 0.3 percent during 1992.
Of the five apparel categories that went into calculating the 1994 women’s apparel retail price index, price declines of 11.1 percent for dresses and 9.7 percent for coats and jackets had the most effect.
Also contributing to the annual women’s apparel price decline were separates and sportswear, which dropped 3.4 percent from December 1993 to December 1994.
Working to slightly offset these large drops in prices were increases in the remaining two women’s apparel categories of suits, which rose 0.3 percent, and underwear, nightwear and hosiery, which went up 1.1 percent.
The record 1994 decline in the all-apparel price index — the drop of 1.9 percent was the biggest dip since an 0.2 percent downturn in 1958 — followed annual increases of 0.8 percent in 1993 and 1.2 percent during 1992.
While women’s was the most volatile apparel price index, men’s prices also took a hit, declining 1.4 percent over the year. In 1993, men’s prices were unchanged and during 1992 they increased 1.3 percent. Girls’ apparel prices declined 0.7 percent during 1994, following a drop of 3.3 percent in 1993 and increase of 2.1 percent in 1992. Boys’ prices declined 3.3 percent in 1994, compared to an increase of 1.8 percent in 1993 and a drop of 1 percent during 1992.
Women’s apparel prices ended 1994, however, with only a slight jog downward, dipping 0.1 percent in December against November. For the month, coat and jacket prices declined 0.4 percent, as dress prices dropped 2.7 percent. Offsetting these declines were increases of 4.2 percent for suits; 0.1 percent for underwear, nightwear, hosiery and accessories, and 0.2 percent for separates and sportswear prices.
In addition, for the month, apparel prices for girls’ declined 0.2 percent, as men’s dropped 1.2 percent and boys’ declined 1.1 percent. — Fairchild News Service

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