Consumer prices increased by a greater-than-expected 0.2% in April compared to March, but fell slightly on a year-over-year basis for the fourth straight month, their largest drop since October 2009, dragged down by declines in energy, apparel and other categories.
The combined apparel and footwear price index fell by 0.8%, the sixth straight month of decline, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The index for apparel alone dropped by a steeper 1.7%. Footwear prices increased by 2.7% in the month.
The drop in apparel prices was driven by decreases in women’s and children’s apparel over the past year. Women’s apparel prices declined by 2 percent compared to the same month last year. Girl’s apparel prices fell by more than 3 percent, while boys’ prices dropped by less than 2 percent. Many retailers are citing women’s apparel as one of the weaker areas in the market. Men’s apparel prices declined the least of any segment, down by just 0.6%.