As you might remember, I was confounded by the retail sales numbers last week. The number was higher than I expected, especially for apparel which was +2.8% from January.
Today the clouds parted and all became clear. Turns out the culprit was inflation. The apparel component in the consumer price index was up 1.3% for the month of February. I'm not 100% sure WHERE the prices were up, since it sure seems like apparel prices where I'm looking are falling... or at least discounted by huge amounts.