APPAREL COMPANIES GETTING HIT BY HIGHER FABRIC COSTS
Sharp price increases for cotton and wool have "compounded
the woes of the apparel industry, which has been suffering for
months from sluggish consumer demand," according to Teri Agins of
the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Apparel makers "are watching their
profit margins erode further because they can't risk losing
retail sales by passing on higher fabric costs." Russell Corp.
has reported that 1stQ net income fell two cents to $.31/share
from last year. While the 1st quarter is traditionally slow due
to clear outs of winter merchandise, this year apparel makers
cannot count on relief anytime soon "because stores remain
saddled with unsold inventory" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/21).