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Footwear Prices Increase 6.6% in March as Inflation Soars to 41-Year High

Consumer prices — including footwear — are still soaring at record highs.

Consumer prices rose by 8.5% in March compared to a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report. This number was up from the 7.9% in February (and the 7.5% growth in January) and represented the highest inflation rate since the 12-month period ending in December 1981.

Compared to February, prices for March were up 1.2% on top of a 0.8% rise in February.

Excluding food and energy, prices rose 6.5% from last year, marking the largest 12-month change since the period ending August 1982. Compared to last year, the energy index rose 32% and the food index rose 8.8%, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending May 1981.

Footwear prices grew 6.6% in March, year over year, according to data from the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA). This marks the third-fastest year over year increase in about 33 years, trailing behind February’s 7% increase and May’s 7.1% increase.

Men’s footwear was up 5.1%, women’s was up 5.8% and kids’ was up 11%. The spike in kid’s footwear marks the second highest spike in 33 years.

Within footwear, the rising prices can be attributed to a variety of factors, especially heavy tariffs on consumer goods like footwear. The FDRA has continuously pressured the Biden Administration to eliminate the burdensome tariffs that have contributed to soaring prices on footwear.

According to FDRA, these tariffs, which can be as high as 48% on certain shoes, translate into massive price increases at retail. The problem is compounded by the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, which is causing spiking prices on commodities like oil and food in the U.S.

“High tariffs and epic freight costs are now tripping up consumers with record high footwear prices,” said AAFA President and CEO Steve Lamar. “It’s long past time to give consumers — and the footwear companies who serve them — relief by ending abusive tariffs and pushing and ending price gouging in the freight industry.”

Online prices in March increased 3.6% year over year and 0.3% month-over-month, according to online inflation data from Adobe’s Digital Price Index (DPI). Apparel prices in March grew 16.3% year over year, making in the standout category for online inflation.

Consumers have recently expressed growing concern over rising costs due to inflation. In March, consumers said they expect inflation to grow 6.6% over the next year, according to the March 2022 survey of consumer expectations from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data. This expectation is higher than the 6% growth over a year expected as of February.

Consumer spending has also started slowing. In February, consumer spending increased 0.2% but at a slower pace than expected amid rising inflation. And when adjusted for inflation, spending fell by 0.4%.

A spring 2022 Consumer Sentiment Survey from Alvarez & Marsal Consumer Retail Group found that inflation was the No. 1 barrier to spending for consumers.

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