WASHINGTON — Retail prices for footwear surged in July, according to the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday.
Total footwear prices increased 1.3 percent in July from June and 2.6 percent compared with July of last year.
Women’s footwear prices increased the most within the category, shooting up a seasonally adjusted 2.3 percent in July from June. Compared with last year, prices were up 1 percent.
Men’s footwear, which is not seasonally adjusted like the other categories, showed price declines of 0.9 percent from June, but increased 3.1 percent compared with last year.
Boys’ and girls’ footwear prices increased 0.6 percent in July from June and spiked 5.2 percent compared with last year.
Retail prices for all apparel increased 1.2 percent in July compared with June, and 0.8 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Women’s retail apparel prices surged a seasonally adjusted 2.1 percent in July, but fell 1.4 percent compared with July of last year. Men’s apparel prices slid 0.5 percent in monthly comparisons and declined 0.4 percent year over year.
The increases in apparel prices were partly due to less discounting than expected by retailers, said Jessica Penvose, an analyst with the Labor Department.
While total apparel prices in July were “soaring,” there is no certainty that economic forces are the only aspect in play, said Charles McMillion, president and chief economist MBG Information Services.
“This could partly be a sign of higher-priced imports due to the decline in the value of the dollar, but it appears largely a function of changing seasonally adjustment patterns. Apparel prices are up just 0.8 percent in year-over-year [comparisons] and virtually unchanged since January,” he said.