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Consumers Spending More on Footwear, While Apparel Remains Sluggish

Apparel failed to benefit from the uptick in consumer spending that continued in October.

According to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal consumption spending rose by almost 4 percent on a 12-month smoothed basis, which corrects for monthly volatility, far exceeding apparel and footwear spending, which edged up by only one percent.

Footwear drove the fashion category, rising by almost three percent, while apparel’s increase was a mere 0.6 percent.

Weather was partly to blame. Temperatures were above normal in much of the country, and several hurricane-like storms threatened the southeastern U.S. and west coast, putting a damper on business activity.

Within apparel, children’s apparel was the standout, rising by almost three percent, while spending on women’s and men’s clothing remained at the near-flat levels we’ve seen for the past few months.

Since March, prices for children’s apparel have been falling faster than those in other apparel categories, causing parents to take advantage of these good deals to spruce up their kids’  wardrobes.