Pandemic Price Wreck: Men’s Suits and Women’s Dresses

Girl in a medical mask next to mannequins in a store
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Suits for men and dresses for women have been among the hardest-hit categories of consumer goods in the pandemic.

The lack of demand for suits and dresses is evident in the Consumer Price Index for each of the categories. The price index for men’s suits, sports coats, and outerwear is down 16.8 percent compared with a year ago. It fell 0.4 percent in Feburary after dropping 0.8 percent in January.

Prices for women’s dresses are down by 16.8 percent as well. They fell by a dramatic 4.9 percent in February and 1.3 percent in the prior month.

Children are also not immune to the decline in demand for clothing. Apparel prices for boys fell 2 percent in February and are down 0.3 percent compared with a year ago. Girls’ apparel prices fell 2.3 percent but are up 3.4 percent compared with a year earlier.

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