Footwear Prices Fell for Third Straight Month in August as Overall Inflation Spikes

Footwear prices continued to drop year-over-year for the third straight month in August, while overall consumer inflation reaccelerated last month.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Consumer Price Index (CPI), consumer prices increased 0.6 percent from last month and 3.7 percent from the same time last year. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, the core CPI rose 0.3 percent from July and 4.3 percent from the same month in 2022.

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Almost all of August’s monthly inflation increase came from gasoline costs, which rose 10.6 percent last month, accounting for over half of the increase. Also contributing to the August monthly increase was continued advancement in the shelter index, which rose for the 40th consecutive month.

Looking closer at footwear prices, new data from Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) shows that retail shoe prices fell by a modest 0.1 percent in August. Men’s footwear continued its decline last month, dropping 0.7 percent. According to the FDRA, the decline in men’s footwear prices was enough to offset price gains in women’s shoes, up 0.5 percent, and children’s shoes, up 0.9 percent last month.

This latest decline pegs year-to-date footwear prices slightly lower versus the same first eight months of last year, the FDRA added.

“We’ve noted over much of this year that an usually wide gap between rising import costs and these flat-to-lower retail footwear prices had arisen, and we looked either for retail footwear prices to go sharply higher or–more likely–landed costs to edge lower to close this gap,” Gary Raines, chief economist at FDRA, told FN. “We still see little evidence to suggest retail footwear prices will go sharply higher. Instead, we continue to look for these import costs to moderate over the balance of the year, narrowing this gap further. Indeed, we’re already seeing that play out, as the average landed cost of footwear imports sank year-over-year three of the last four months, most recently falling 5.2 percent, the sharpest drop in 23 months.”

Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), added that today’s CPI numbers continue to “show a burden” on American consumers who all need clothes and shoes to work, attend school, exercise, and play.

“Inflation will continue to remain a stubborn and unwelcome guest as long as the Biden Administration continues to outsource its tariff policies to the Trump Administration,” Lamar told FN. “Together, the Biden and Trump Administration have collected nearly $200 billion in Section 301 tariffs, which continues to be regressively baked into the prices of clothes, shoes, and hundreds of other consumer goods.”

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