Prices for apparel edged up slightly for the first time in almost a year and a half as warmer-than-average weather in key parts of the country helped retailers sell full-priced early spring merchandise.
Inflation for all items increased by 1 percent year-over-year, below January’s 1.4% rise. Taking food and energy out of the mix, the increase was 2.3%, slightly ahead of the prior month’s rate, due primarily to increases in housing and medical service costs.
The combined apparel and footwear price index rose by 0.9%, its biggest monthly rise since June 2014.
The index for clothing alone increased by 0.6%, while footwear prices spiked by a surprising 1.8%.
Women’s apparel prices had their first increase in a year and a half, edging up by 0.2%, while men’s prices dipped by 0.4%. Many retailers reported solid full-priced sales of early spring merchandise as the brief cold snap (which helped clear out the last vestiges of outerwear) in the east was followed by warmer-than-normal temperatures in the east, midwest and other regions.
While boys’ apparel prices fell 0.4%, prices of girlswear dropped by 1.3%. Infants’ and toddlers’ prices rose by 3.4%.