Star Ledger 6/22/08 - Star Ledger
Inflation: Food and fuel are up, but this summer offers plenty of price cuts by Joseph Perone

...The cost of produce can fluctuate because of weather-related issues. Take zucchini, for example, which is grown in Georgia, North Carolina and Florida.

"Zucchini is doing really well because of good weather conditions," said shopping expert Karen Hoxmeier of, a consumer website based in Murrieta, Calif. "Those states had a mild winter, so supply is up."

Prices of zucchini are down about 38 percent, she said. Some supermarkets in New Jersey are selling 2 pounds of the vegetable for about $3, Hoxmeier said.

Women's apparel also is falling.

"Apparel is one of the few categories in the federal Consumer Price Index in which overall prices have declined," Hoxmeier said. "Stats show a decrease by about 10 percent since 1998."

Apparel prices have dipped as manufacturing moves to countries with cheap labor, such as Vietnam, and because of increased competition among retailers, she said.

Women's capri pants in discount stores have dropped about 32 percent in price because they are starting to go out of style on the West Coast, Hoxmeier said. "Skinny jeans are replacing them."