Footwear Prices Drop in September

WASHINGTON — Retail prices for shoes retreated 0.4 percent in September, but rose 1.4 percent in 12-month comparisons, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday in its Consumer Price Index.

Men’s footwear prices increased 0.5 percent in monthly comparisons and 1.1 percent in year-to-year comparisons. Women’s footwear declined 0.8 percent in September and increased 1.3 percent compared with September 2007. Boys’ and girls’ footwear prices dropped 0.8 percent in monthly comparisons, but rose 2 percent in the year.

Apparel prices as a whole, which include footwear, dropped 0.1 percent in September and rose 1.4 percent compared with the prior year. Women’s retail apparel prices fell a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent in September. Compared with a year ago, women’s apparel prices rose 0.3 percent. Men’s apparel prices fell 0.4 percent in September and increased 0.8 percent year-over-year.

Overall, the September price fluctuations were fairly typical, said Jessica Penvose, an economist at the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, although the usual seasonal price increases were somewhat less dramatic than previous years, she added.

Inflationary trends appeared to ease for many consumer products in September. Prices for all goods and services were flat for the month, after falling 0.1 percent in August and rising 0.8 percent in July. Prices in September were 4.9 percent higher than the same period last year.

The so-called core prices showed a slight uptick, rising 0.1 percent. Results were largely in line with consensus expectations.

“Consumer price inflation has gone dormant, as the recent abrupt slowdown in world economic growth has led to sharp declines in energy costs, while weak domestic demand is putting downward pressure on retail prices in many key markets,” said Brian Bethune, chief U.S. economist for Global Insight.

The declining inflationary threat will give the Federal Reserve more leeway to continue reducing interest rates to address the impending recession, Bethune said.

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