Shoppers stand outside a store in downtown San Francisco, California, U.S. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

Women Paying More for Clothes as U.S. Apparel Costs Keep Surging

(Bloomberg) -- Women are paying up for clothes. U.S. apparel prices jumped for the second month in February, the biggest back-to-back advance in nearly three decades, led by women’s items.

All women’s apparel categories advanced, with footwear prices jumping the most since September 2000, and outerwear, dresses and suits also recording gains, according to the Labor Department’s monthly consumer price index report Tuesday. Men paid their part, too, with sweaters and shirt prices increasing at a pace not seen in more than two years.

Women Paying More for Clothes as U.S. Apparel Costs Keep Surging

Clothing was among other consumer categories in February to show price gains, contributing to an overall CPI increase in line with forecasts. Broadly, the data indicate inflation is firming without breaking out in a way that rattled financial markets last month.

The apparel-price increases could also be a sign that retailers are doing a better job managing their inventory levels -- a focus of many chains after the holiday season including shoe retailer DSW Inc. and Macy’s Inc. With less product on shelves and in warehouses, companies hope to sell a larger portion of the goods at full price, minimizing the need for discounts.

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