The U.S. Labor Department’s latest Consumer Price Index (CPI), released Friday, revealed that apparel inched up 0.2% in August—a meagre increase, yes, but clothing prices have only fallen three out of the last seven months. In fact, prices are up 0.3% in the 12 months ended Aug. 31 compared to last year.
By category, men’s apparel prices rose 1.2% last month (suits, sport coats and outerwear registered the biggest increases) and prices for boys’ clothing crept up 0.4%. On a year-over-year basis, prices are up 1.1% in menswear and 3.2% in boyswear.
The same can’t be said for womenswear which fell 2.4% overall last month, with prices declining in all major categories: outerwear dropped 6.6%, dresses decreased 1.9%, women’s suits and separates were down 2 percent and intimates, sleep and sportswear slipped 1.8%. On a year-over-year basis, womenswear prices are down 0.4%.
Girls’ apparel prices rose 3.9% in August—a massive improvement from July when girlswear prices fell 5.5%, but still down 2.8% versus last year.
Overall, the CPI—which is what people pay for food, clothing, fuels and other goods and services—increased 0.2% in August and it’s up 1.1% over the last year. By comparison, the index for all items was flat in July and increased 0.2% in both June and May.