Expect Apparel Prices To Rise This Holiday Season as Cotton Costs Hit Decade-High

Covid-19: Woman customer choosing clothes at the mall store stock photo
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You may be in for a little sticker shock on t-shirts and jeans when you start your holiday shopping this year. Cotton prices jumped to a 10-year high on Tuesday, CNN reported, climbing 4% to nearly $1.09, the highest level since September 2011. Cotton is up 22% just in the past two weeks.

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During the 12 months that ended in August, apparel prices rose 4.2% according to a government inflation report, as noted by CNN. The most significant price increases were on men’s shirts and sweaters (4.4%), men’s pants and shorts (6.6%) and women’s dresses (11.9%).

The rise in cotton prices is being blamed on drought, which is impacting production across the U.S. Typically, companies have been able to offset these costs; however, inflation has spiked across the board.

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“Unfortunately, right now for consumers … for retailers and manufacturers, this [rise in cotton prices] isn’t the only issue,” Brian Yarbrough, senior analyst of equity research for Edward Jones, told Fox Business.

He added that retailers are also facing rising shipping and labor costs, along with port delays. “I think all those things are going to factor into higher prices for the consumer,” he said. “And we’re hearing this across all of our retail companies.”

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Retailers are also having trouble keeping shelves stocked, meaning consumers aren’t going to see too many discounted items, Yarbrough noted. “Between that and rising prices, I think consumers are definitely going to feel the pinch of that when they get holiday shopping and moving to the next year,” he said.

Last updated: October 6, 2021

About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.

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