Shoe Prices Tick Up in October as Overall Consumer Prices Remain Flat From Last Month

Positive inflation news came on Tuesday morning as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that overall retail prices were flat in October from the previous month.

The bureau’s latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) saw prices remain unchanged last month from September but were up 3.2 percent from the same month last year. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, the core CPI rose 0.2 percent in October and 4 percent from the same month in 2022. The annual core CPI level was the lowest in two years, down from 4.1 percent in September, the bureau noted.

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Shelter costs continued to rise in October, offsetting a 5 percent decline in gas prices. Energy costs fell 2.5 percent over last month, while food prices ticked up 0.3 percent from September. Other categories that increased in October included rent, owners’ equivalent rent, motor vehicle insurance, medical care, recreation and personal care.

Looking closer at footwear prices, new data from Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) shows that retail shoe prices in October rose a modest 1.1 percent from a year earlier, the sharpest increase in eleven months.

According to the FDRA, women’s footwear saw the highest increase last month, up 1.8 percent. Men’s shoe prices increased 0.8 percent in October and children’s footwear rose 1 percent in the period.

And while shoe prices do seem to be moving in the wrong direction, the FDRA noted that it does not see this recent acceleration in footwear prices as the start of a trend of even-sharper price hikes to come.

What’s more, the FDRA said that despite October posting the biggest gain in eleven months, this latest increase pegs year-to-date footwear prices little changed versus the same first ten months of last year, up a scant 0.1 percent.

“As we mentioned earlier, over the long term, average import costs for footwear tend to rise or fall in step with retail footwear prices,” Gary Raines, chief economist at FDRA, told FN. “We noted earlier this year that an usually wide gap between rising import costs and these mostly flat retail footwear prices had arisen, and to close this gap we looked for either retail footwear prices to go sharply higher or —more likely — landed costs to decline.”

“We still see little evidence to suggest retail footwear prices will go appreciably higher anytime soon. Instead, these import costs indeed are sinking,” Raines added. “Already, the average import cost has declined year-over-year five of the last six months and fell 11 percent in the latest month, the steepest drop in more than thirteen years. We expect these import costs will continue to ebb over the balance of the year, narrowing this gap further as the market returns to equilibrium.”

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