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Apparel Prices Continue to Climb in February

Inflation continued to edge higher in February, lifted by higher costs for shelter, transportation services, and health care. Apparel prices turned in their second largest increase in nearly two and a half years.

According to Consumer Price Index (CPI) data released last week by the U.S. Department of Commerce, prices for all goods and services rose by 2.7% (adjusted for seasonality) compared to the same month last year. That was the biggest jump in inflation in five years.

Food prices increased slightly, but less than the overall index. Energy prices declined, and the core inflation rate, which excludes food and energy, increased by 2.2%, less than overall inflation. The apparel and footwear price index increased by 0.4%.

Apparel prices (excluding footwear) rose by 0.9 percent compared to January 2016. Footwear prices fell by 1.1%.

Womenswear prices increased by 1.4% in the month, while menswear rose by 2.2%.

Children’s apparel suffered a 2.5% price decline, hurt by downward pressure on girls’ and infants’ apparel prices.