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Clothing prices may increase 10 pct this year

February 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Get ready for higher prices on clothing. Researchers say clothing prices could increase 10 percent this year.

There are a number of reasons for the expected hike. Clothing prices have been dropping for the past decade. However, industry officials say as the global economy recovers, the demand for consumer goods is going up.

Retailers and manufacturers are running out of ways to cut expenses, while the cost of raw materials and overseas labor is rising.

World demand for cotton is at an all-time high, while bad weather in cotton producing countries has cut production.

Brooks Brothers' wrinkle-free men's dress shirts now cost $88, up from $79.50. Levi Strauss & Co., Wrangler jeans maker VF Corp., J.C. Penney Co., Nike and designer shoe seller Steve Madden also plan increases.

More specifics on price increases are expected when clothing retailers such as J.C. Penney Co. and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. report financial results this month.

Higher costs also will affect how clothes are made. Clothing makers are using more synthetics like rayon and designing jeans with fewer beads and other embellishments. Shoppers also will have fewer color choices.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.