Thursday, September 1

Beware of the Cheap Tricks of Branded Retail Stores

• Stores are trying everything they can think of to disguise the fact that you're going to pay more for clothes.

• Some are using less fabric and calling it the new look. Others are adding cheap stitching and advertising it as a redesign. Chances are you're not going to think it's worth paying several dollars more for the shirt just to have them.

• Retailers are raising prices on merchandise an average of 10 percent in an effort to offset their rising costs for materials and labor. But merchants are worried whether the customers will buy at price hikes. So, retailers are making inexpensive tweaks—additional stitching, fake button holes, torn edges, fancy tags—to justify price increases. These tweaks can add only pennies to $1 to the cost of a garment, but retailers can charge $10 more for them.

 "Stores are making consumers believe they're getting more for their money."

• Spencer Elmen, owner of Cupid's Lingerie, which operates five stores in Arkansas, said he is seeing more items in his store that are even skimpier than usual, from underwear to mini dresses. He says that's because designers are finding clever ways to conceal the fact that they're clothes have less fabric.

 "They're just being more creative with less fabric," Elmen said.

• Another retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is advertising "Redesigned 2012" Jean Collections in its stores and on its website, touting that the jeans are "softer, with the perfect amount of stretch.". They're also mostly priced between $78 and $88, about $10 more than last year.
• The Wall Street Strategies retail analyst, examined the jeans and believes they are "thinner" and of "cheaper quality." and says “That extra stretch, could simply mean the retailer is saving costs by using less denim”.

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