Synthetic linings. Smaller buttons. Less Italian fabric. And yes, even more polyester. Unusually high cotton prices have apparel makers scrambling to keep down costs, but consumers be warned: cotton clothing will be getting more expensive.
“It’s really a no-choice situation,” said Wesley R. Card, president and chief executive of the Jones Group, the company behind Anne Klein, Nine West and other brands. “Prices have to come up.”
The Bon-Ton chain is raising prices on its private-label fashion items by as much as a dollar this spring, and prices will go up further next fall. And it is switching from 100 percent cotton in items like sweaters to more acrylic blends. Levi’s says it has already increased prices and may push them further north next year. And Hanesbrands, the maker of Champion, Hanes and Playtex, says price increases will be in place by February, and prices could go up further if cotton prices remain where they are.
Other apparel makers say they have held the line on prices this year, but next year will be different. The V. F. Corporation , the maker of 7 for All Mankind and The North Face, says most brands will probably cost more next year, and its cotton-heavy jeans lines are particularly susceptible to increases. Jones says its increases could be in the high single digits or more.Page 1 of 5 | Next Page