Rising prices of men's and women's wear have done little to dampen overall apparel spending in the US in the first half of the year, although higher demand for men's clothing is offsetting a fall in women's garment sales according to new research.

The NPD Group on Friday (12 August) said apparel sales in dollar terms were up 1% for the first-half of the year. Over the period, women's apparel sales fell 0.8%, while men's apparel sales were up 4.6%.

Across the apparel market, average retail prices rose 6% year-on-year during the six-month period. Men's apparel prices rose almost 8%, with women's apparel rising 3%.

NPD Group chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen said that the price pressures have come through from the supply chain, but that the results show "consumers have been accepting of those price increases."

Cohen said that while "the apparel market numbers were starting to look good again," he added that the "women's market is dragging, and women may continue to 'shop in their closets' and make concessions in favour of their family members' needs."

Cohen said that men are buying more in order to separate themselves from competition in the workplace, with men's tailored clothing sales rising over 11% and sales of men's dress shirts growing over 3%.

"Younger and the more 'experienced' men are buying apparel to replenish their worn-out items and, perhaps more importantly, buying wardrobe items that will separate them from the competition in the workplace," he said.

According to Cohen, while women are for the most part foregoing their own wardrobe needs, they are "picking and choosing from categories that might have a benefit in their professional lives".