Personal consumption expenditure growth slowed in February for the fourth straight month, according to recently-released US government data. Spending rose by 4.4% on a 12-month smoothed basis, below January’s rate of 4.5%. Most of the slowdown was in the purchases of durable and nondurable goods, helped by a slight drop in the February consumer price index. Spending on services actually increased in February.
Apparel spending continues to outpace the rate of overall personal consumption, increasing 4.8% on a 12-month smoothed basis, compared to a 4.4% increase in total consumer spending and a January apparel spending increase of 4.9%. Spending on women’s apparel, which represents the largest portion of the apparel market, led the segments at up 5.1%, while men’s and children’s rose 4.6% and 4%, respectively.