Not Good for the Savvy Shopper

A New Report Says Clothing Prices Are About To Increase In A Big Way

In a new report from Women’s Wear Daily, some of the world’s biggest apparel producers say that the cost of making clothes is about to increase, and that cost will be passed on to consumers like us.

Executives from Hanesbrands, Columbia Sportswear Co., and VF Corp.–makers of everything from The North Face to Nautica to Seven For All Mankind–all told WWD that they believe inflation could return to the clothing business in the very near future. “’The era of apparel deflation is now over,’ said Richard Noll, chairman and chief executive officer of Hanesbrands Inc. Cotton prices are up more than 50 percent from a year ago, labor and transportation expenses are rising and factories that closed during the recession remain dark, keeping a cap on supply as demand perks up. To top it off, Chinese officials have become more willing to allow the yuan to appreciate against the dollar, which could make goods made in the country even more expensive.”

Clothing prices hit their high in 1992, and have decreased every year since with the exception of just two–and one of them was a meager 0.6% increase last year. “Even with the increase, apparel in 2009 cost a staggering 20.4 percent less than it did 17 years earlier,” the article says. Considering clothing prices have been on the decline for years, this is definitely going to be a shock to most consumers’ systems. How will you handle the inflation in clothing prices? Will you be more likely to wait for a sale to buy something you really want? Will you start investing only in a few quality pieces per year? Or will your shopping habits not change at all?


July 27, 2010. July.

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