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Womenswear Price Deflation Drives Apparel CPI Down for Fifteenth Straight Month

Overall inflation accelerated in January, according to the most recent consumer price index (CPI) data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices for apparel continued their downward spiral, however, falling for the fifteenth straight month, in part due to the glut of leftover winter apparel inventory that was cleared out in aggressive end-of-season promotions.

The CPI has accelerated over the last four months despite declines in both grocery and gasoline prices. In January, inflation for all items increased by 1.4% year-over-year, twice December’s rise. Taking food and energy out of the mix, the increase was more than 2 percent, due primarily to increases in housing and medical service costs. 

The combined apparel and footwear price index fell by 0.5%.


The index for clothing alone also dropped by 0.8%. Footwear prices actually increased slightly in the month.


The biggest price drop occurred in the women’s apparel area, with a 2.1% drop. Interestingly enough, men’s apparel prices managed to eke out an increase of 0.5% in the month.


While boys’ apparel prices rose by 1.3%, prices of girlswear plunged by 2.3%. Infants’ and toddlers’ prices were down slightly.