ConsumerWatch: Cotton Prices On The Rise

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Levi Strauss & Co Jeans Jacket (AP Photo)

Levi Strauss & Co Jeans Jacket (AP Photo)

(CBS 5) – As the cost of gas and food are on the rise, cotton prices are also expected to increase. In fact, retailers are expected to raise prices on everything from jeans to sheets.

Weather in India, Pakistan and China has destroyed cotton fields and slashed the global supply. Peter Cohan believes denim will be an area consumers see a price jump. “Cotton is up 70 percent in the last year which is phenomenal,” he said.

CBS 5 ConsumerWatch stopped by Union Square in San Francisco and some consumers said they would pay a few dollars more for a pair of jeans, but not as much as 30 percent more. But according to Cohan consumers might just be paying 30 percent more for those jeans.

“I think they’re all going to raise their prices in the spring because that’s when China expects to raise their prices at least an additional 30 percent,” he said. In a statement to CBS 5 ConsumerWatch, Levi Strauss said their prices are expected to increase by spring 2011 due to the dramatic rise in the price of cotton around the world which is forcing the apparel industry to respond.

Consumers may also see a price hike in clothing items such as t-shirts and sweaters. But not all retailers are expected to raise prices.

Designer Sara Campbell said large manufactures will most likely make up the cost by changing zippers, buttons, fabrics and even the trim. Campbell adds many manufactures cannot afford to lose customer loyalty. “They may not use cotton they’ll use poly cotton,” she said. Still many consumers insist they are willing to pay more for higher quality clothing.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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