Major Retailers Brace for Soaring Clothing Costs (And So Should You)

by | Nov 15, 2010 | Headline News | 22 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    It’s not just about food and oil anymore.

    Gap Inc., J.C. Penney Co. and other U.S. retailers may have to pay Chinese suppliers as much as 30 percent more for clothes as surging cotton prices boost costs.

    “It’s a little terrifying to deal with cotton suppliers now,” said Vicky Wu, a sales manager at Suzhou Unitedtex Enterprise Ltd., a closely held, Jiangsu province-based clothes maker that counts Gap and J.C. Penney among its clients.

    “American consumers better get used to rising prices on the shelves of Wal-Mart and other retailers,” said Jessica Lo, Shanghai-based managing director at China Market Research Group. “China’s manufacturers are getting squeezed not only by rising cotton costs but also soaring real estate and labor costs.”

    “We can give clients a price now, but it will only be valid for a week,” said Tianlong’s Hu.

    “If cotton goes up 50% or 70%, or wherever it lands, there will be an impact on pricing that everybody in our industry is going to feel, but our objective is to have a competitive advantage, particularly on key price points the customer would expect us to maintain,” he said.

    Source: Bloomberg News via The Daily Sheeple

    Unless we start to see some actual price stabilization – not the kind the Fed tries to induce via excessive money printing – prices in ALL essential goods are going up. The fact that many Chinese firms are quoting prices that expire after a week suggests that what we’ve gained from quantitative easing the world over is not price stabilization, but exactly the opposite.

    We have yet to see the recent rise in commodity futures prices for essential goods reflected at our local retailers and grocers. But it’s coming. And, unless something changes (like a major collapse in commodity prices), the average American struggling to put food on the table better brace themselves.

    For now, retailers have been keeping prices down in an effort to entice consumers and remain competitive. This has been collapsing their margins and subsequently affecting their earnings. By Spring of next year, retailers will no longer be able to sustain without raising their prices – so don’t be surprised when they do.


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      1. Comments…..This report is a great indicator of the inflation in all areas of consumer goods both now and for our future.  Quality for your dollar can been found in “Goodwill”  type stores.  Warm clothing will be greatly needed by all who will be spending more time outdoors and in homes without adequate heat in a post SHTF situation.  So your clothing ‘preps’ must be based on ‘real world’ environments you will encounter.  Think boots, wool caps, heavy work gloves, layered clothing. Be Well

      2. Comments….. What Montana Mike said…we shop thrift stores and garage sales.  I pick up good quality clothing cheap–shirts for 10-cents, jean jackets for $1.00, Levi jeans for $1.00. Who cares, no one knows where you bought them.  IMHO, which I haven’t done in years, is to shop the malls and get store bought stuff for 4-X the price that I can find at thrift stores.  Shop flea markets for the heavier type stuff–gloves, tools.

      3. Here in Canada, the prices at the thrift shops are crazy. A 1970 era jacket cost 25-40 bucks. Jeans 10-25 bucks. Garage sales are still good though.

      4. As the next few years pass and commodity prices soar and those textiles associated with said textiles, clothing, cloth, leather, shoes, jackets… it will become vogue around the water cooler Talking of where you found cheap quality clothes… the local thrift shop will become vogue and style will become retro. “bum” will be the in thing!

        my suggestion buy carrharts quality like clothing – NOW!





      5. Buy on seasonal clearance.   Thrift shops are  a good thing for those small folks that don’t wear   common sizes (lg and xl).   Men’s 2xl’s are also popular and sell out.   Even thrift shops are raising prices.   Use store coupons (JCP, Kohls, Belks, etc) and get 50% off or wait for clearance.   In a hot climate where I live, in the winter  about all you need is a  fleece jacket or hoodie.  Sweat pants are cheap and worn casual.

      6. All I wear are jeans and work type clothing. Don’t even own a suit.  Have years bought ahead.  Probably don’t spend hundred bucks in a year on clothing.  Could care less what the cost of clothing does.

      7. The solution to the cotton shortage is hemp… it’s an easy crop to grow and has many diverse uses.  The more outside the box ideas we implement… the better our chances of having some kind of stabilization.

      8. NA, the BLS and uncle ben say theres NO inflation,

        hell even a few know it all’s also say so, smirks……..

        I agree, locally, many of the second hand and consignment stores appear to be doing very well.

        There is a lot to be said about hoarders, I am one. I guess my passion for hoarding comes from the stories my Mom and Dad told us kids as we were growing up. They both endured the rigors of the Great Depression and the dust bowl. They had indicated they did without, both food and clothing. Many hand me downs.  As a child, I thought it odd that Dad would continually stock up on food, clothing (never did I see a piece of clothing be thrown away), we had two wood stoves to heat the house. Although we did in fact have oil heat.

        Let me say, as kids, we did not do without, but my parents were always aware of the downturns in the economies.

        One of the things I take with me, for many years, my wife and I saved monies, (401K’s, Annunities, roth IRA’s) we have done very well. When the downturn came, we lost about 45% of our total.  Now, looking back, I am not certain I would have repeated this. I think the advice I would give to youngsters today is to invest in metals. I mean meatals that can physically touched, not paper. I would also tell them to use THEIR own judgement in handling their monies, not someone thousand’s of miles away.

        But back the question at hand, I would definately begin to store away clothing (especially cotton fabrics) when the crap hits the fan, it’s going to get very bad. It will put all of us to the test.

      10. yeah, I’m taking this seriously…my fiancee and I are buying each other, jackets, good quality gloves and hats, and some warmer bedding for each other for christmas….also, I buy a lot of t-shirts and those type clothes at goodwill…cannot beat a 2.50 t-shirt, tax free plus my small student discount

      11. the ones who will “suffer” if thats what you want to call it, will be the type that Have to have a new wardrobe every 6 months.
        I still have cloths that i bought 12 years ago or better.
        Or the Type that “no way will they put clothes on their back that someone already wore”.
        Those types..and the families bringing up kids that are still growing. And people who’s weight fluxuate a lot.
        I could live from now until the dirt nap with whats in my closet.

      12. believe me, that if / when clothes go sky high in price.
        so will the yard sales and goodwill, salvation army.
        there will beno getting around it.

      13. Comments…..i have not shopped (although i still have the credit cards for emergency use only) at the mall, jcpenney, gap or anywhere really for at least the last five years. why? because everything comes from china, looks like crap, and there is not much “cotton” in the product. i sew, i shop at goodwill and other thrift shops, but even at those places…i make a point of checking for the made in usa label and the 100% cotton label. right now i am knitting a crocheting with made in usa red heart yarn. yes, sometimes made in usa label is more expensive-but guess what! my hard earned money was made in usa and spent in the usa -supporting usa made goods. this country has just about sold out to other countries and that my friends is a huge part of the problems here in our country today.

      14. VRF, while it is true those people will suffer because their priorities are out of line, you have to think of people like children, who outgrow their clothes rapidly…sure, some can get hand me downs, but not every family has those resources

      15. Thank you Caryn Verell!!  The lack of purchasing American made products due to cheaper but lower quality  Chinese, India, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Ect. is a big reason for our lack of manufacturing (and jobs) in America. This was not a big issue when Greenspan was flooding the markets with money because most people were working and credit was easy. Shut that credit off and the bottom drops out. It is our own fault for not purchasing (demanding with our dollars) quality American made products for the past 30 years. How many times, on the posts on this website, is Walmart referenced? What do they sell? Cheap foreign products and poor quality, processed food. That biblical thing about “reaping what you sow”, sure rings true. Thanks again Caryn.    

      16. Not trying to change the subject here but our family always does a “dirty Santa” exchange at Christmas. This is where everyone buys a 20-30 dollar gift and then we exchange and “steal” from one another….Tons of Fun! I have to come up with 2 gifts (one from me and one from my husband)

        Question….since I am the ONLY one in the family that is seriously prepping I was trying to think of a gift that I could give to get my point across. Any suggestions?

        I am giving a new 2010 silver eagle as one gift but what about the other? Heritage seads and a gallon of water??? LOL

        I am trying to be very creative 

      17. Marie..I did..

        i said..”..and the families bringing up kids that are still growing. And people who’s weight fluxuate a lot.”

        I know all too well the deal with clothing a child or 2, still have one growing at this time..

        and mostly that is the only one right now that needs any “new” or different sizes of clothing, once she stops growing she will also learn the lesson of taking care of her stuff for the long haul.

        style is over rated..especally if you cant eat it, or it isnt warm enough when thats more important.

      18. @ cynical optimist –

        King Cotton has always been the force behind the movement to keep hemp illegal. You can make hemp cloth from the damn plant that is just as soft as cotton and is yet tough enough to last 3x as long as cotton. Oh shit!!! People might only  buy half as many shirts if they were made out of hemp cloth instead of cotton. This would lower the demand for King Cotton and the big corporate Agrabusiness that is such good friends with our Congress Critters and Senatorial Sapsuckers would loose massive amounts of money.

        You get more paper out of one acre of hemp than you get out of five acres of old growth forest.

        Hemp will not get you high no matter how much of it you smoke! It will give you a sore throat long before you will ever catch a buzzzz.

        Our elected employees serving the US Federal Government have sold us down the river to corporate america.

      19. I get new cottgon underwear for Christmas every year, or whenever I change girlfriends. Just saying.

      20. You’re the lucky one….  May you get them every year & not only on X-mas.

      21. Comments…..not only should you stock up on clothing for yourself, but it is also something you can use as trade..
        Caryn…you brought up a great point about wallmart..guess one country where China is having almost no impact with its imports??? Its Russia!  Back in 1990-2005, after the Russian collapse, china inc. flooded Russia with cheap clothing…the stuff they could not export anywhere else..and sold it dearly to the nearly starving people..When people got it home, it disintigrated in the washing machine the first time it was washed, or a sleeve would fall off as you were walking down the street.. Now that Russians have more money…they will not buy anything from China at any price..They will spit and curse china when they see that trash.. (China could have gotten customers for life if they had sent their best there as a loss item for a couple years, but instead they miscalculated)  Remember this..I can see the quality of Chinese imported goods are declining fast in the USA…we are about to be buried in their worst quality stuff once they figure we are too poor to pay for their better quality items..
        Interestingly, In Russia today you cannot sell clothing made in china..nobody wants it at any price…But the Russians sure will pay a premium for anything that says Made in the USA… We still manufactured and sent them stuff during those expecially bad years…they remember quality. They were/are happy to spend a fortune for even ONE piece of good quality clothing made in the USA..Even if Americans are too short sighted to buy American made clothing…Russians would be damned delighted to buy all we could make and ship to them..It suprizes me that nobody in the US or Russia has caught onto this market opprotunity yet!

      22. You can also find some very durable clothing and other items at the old style Army/navy stores…I used to own one and still have alot of clothing and stuff left for my own use,some of the coats are wool and some are hemp cloth,bags too,stuff wears like iron! Even some of the US issue especially 40s-60s is very well made,german wool of the same period wore well too, Thanks!

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