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Womenswear Responsible for Big Decline in Apparel Prices in June

Consumer prices continued to drift upward in June, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation data. But apparel and footwear prices suffered another big decline, pressured by the über-promotional retail environment, continued influence of cheap and chic fast fashion retailers and value-conscious consumers with smart phones who shop around for lower prices before buying anything.

The overall consumer price index, or CPI, increased by 0.1% in June on a year-over-year basis, its biggest rise in six months. Compared to May, the index rose by 0.3%. The core inflation rate, which excludes food and energy, rose by 1.8%, due primarily to increases in housing and medical service costs. The combined apparel and footwear price index fell by 1.8%, its eighth straight month of decline and the largest drop in six months.

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The index for clothing dropped by an even steeper 2.6%, larger than May’s 2.3% drop. Footwear prices increased by 1.1% in the month, their smallest increase in 11 months.

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The decline in apparel prices was due primarily to a 3.5% drop in women’s prices. Retailers continue to cite women’s apparel as one of the weaker areas in the market. Men’s apparel prices declined by just 1.3%.

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Girls’ and boys’ apparel prices fell by 4.5% and 2.6%, respectively, while prices for infants and toddlers apparel rose by 1.1% in the month.

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