The increase in April producer prices of apparel outpaced those of all goods for the second month in a row.
PPI, which measures the average change in the selling prices received by domestic producers for their output, increased by 1.9%, marking a seventh consecutive month of shrinking increases, and its smallest rise since October 2009.
The producer price index for apparel, however, rose by a hefty 3%, equal to March’s increase though slightly below that of February.
The apparel PPI’s rise was driven by menswear prices, which jumped 8.5%. Menswear producer prices have been increasing faster than those of women’s apparel for almost two years, but the gap has widened in recent months. There is continued strength in men’s tailored clothing, a category that typically gains momentum during an economic recovery. Menswear retailers are reporting an intensified interest — particularly from younger men – in more fashionable apparel items, which tend to be more expensive than basics.
Women’s producer prices increased by 1.1%, slightly above March’s 1% increase, but low relative to previous months. The plunge in cotton prices in the last year has helped slow price increases, though higher labor and fuel costs remain a factor.