Fashion Retailers Welcome The Rise In Clothing Prices But The Industry’s Recovery Remains Tenuous

August 5, 2021 – Forbes – Dressing the kids to go back-to-school, not to mention yourself to get back-to-work, will cost more this year.

Overall, the consumer price index for apparel role 4.9% from June 2020 through June 2021. Children’s clothing prices rose even higher, up 5.5% for boys and 5.6% for girls. And new kid’s shoes will cost 5.7% more.

While men’s apparel prices have risen only 1.5% compared to women’s 5.3% increase, prices for the most in-demand fashion items – men’s pants, women’s dresses and outerwear – have experienced the greatest bump. Men will pay 11.1% more for a new pair of pants and women will see a 15.8% jump in dress prices and 8.4% for a winter coat, according to government data.

The retail intelligence company Edited recently did a deeper dive into the cost for dressing fashionably.

The prices for fashion that fit the casualization and athleisurewear trend have increased the most. That includes men’s hoodies, sweaters, sweatshirts, sweatpants and t-shirts and for women, loungewear like cardigans, sweaters and sweatpants cost more. In footwear, both men’s and women’s boots are also more pricey.

But prices for formal and office attire are going in the opposite direction, reports Edited’s market analyst Kayla Marci. She says it “reflects the continued importance of comfort and casualwear post-lockdown. In the U.S., dress trousers and suit jackets are at their lowest average price point in two years.”

With consumer demand strong so far – fashion retailer sales rose 7.4% from January through June 2021 compared with 2019 to reach $130.9 billion –and the second half of the year historically strongest for apparel sales, retailers anticipate the good times will keep on rolling.

Esteemed industry insider Terry Lundgren, former executive chairman of Macy’s, expressed a widely held view in a recent CNBC interview. Following years of virtually “nonexistent” price increases, he believes the current “modest” rise in prices isn’t a worry.

“This is not a big concern for apparel retailers,” Lundgren said. “You’re talking about a few dollars going up in price. It’s not going to change the consumer’s mind in terms of purchasing.”

But just like fashion brands can’t control consumer demand, only encourage it through marketing and promotion, they are not in control of the many factors that are causing their products to cost more.

Read more at Forbes.