Inflation continued to cool in April, but prices are still climbing in certain categories like shoes.
Consumer prices rose 4.9 percent in April compared to last year, according to the latest Consumer Price Index released on Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This marks the smallest 12-month increase since the period ending April 2021 and a slowdown from March’s 5 percent and February’s 6 percent. Compared to March 2023, prices in April rose 0.4 percent.
Excluding volatile food and energy costs, the Core CPI rose 0.4 percent from March and 5.5 percent from the same month in 2022.
Retail footwear prices similarly rose at a decelerating rate in April, up 0.7 percent from the same time last year. This marks the 25th straight month of increases but the fifth straight month of a 1 percent increase or less. Prices for men’s footwear prices were down 1.5 percent in April, while women’s footwear prices rose 1.2 percent. Kids’ footwear also ticked up 4 percent last month.
According to the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), footwear prices are up 0.5 percent year to date. At the same time, average hourly wages and import costs continue to grow at much higher rates.
“This divergence between soaring labor and import costs but mostly flat selling prices goes to our earlier point of tighter margins for footwear importers/retailers and prospects that something will have to change later this year — either footwear prices will climb faster or (more likely) landed costs will decline,” Gary Raines, chief economist at FDRA, told FN.
Online prices also retreated in April, with Adobe reporting on Tuesday that prices fell 1.8 percent year-over-year, marking the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year price declines.
The Fed raised interest rates by another 0.25 percent this month, making for a 5 percent hike in a little over a year as the body attempts to curb inflation.
Almost half of executives see inflation as positive, according to a study released earlier this month by global consulting firm Kearney. The study – which polled more than 350 U.S.-based CEOs, owners, partners, and C-level executives from companies with at least 500 employees across retail, healthcare, auto, tech, and banking – found that 48 percent of top leaders see perks in the current inflationary cycle, including opportunities for innovation and investment. Executives in the study also said that they expect the current inflationary cycle to end soon.