SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

February 16, 2011 08:46 ET

Apparel Stores Brace for Surging Costs

The Bedford Report Provides Analyst Research on The Gap & American Eagle

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - February 16, 2011) - Yesterday the Commerce Department announced that US retail sales rose for the seventh straight month in January. While spending did not rise as much as economists on average had predicted, analysts are optimistic that sustained consumer purchases will boost the economy going forward. While the recent spike in retail spending is good news for apparel stores, the surge in cotton prices has begun to shrink the industry's margins. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Apparel Stores Industry and provides research reports on The Gap, Inc. (NYSE: GPS) and American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

The cost of clothes has dropped over the past few years because of the recession, but that trend looks likely to end. Cotton prices have reached all-time highs -- more than doubling in the past year. US Apparel companies have warned that they cannot continue absorbing the price of cotton and will begin passing the adding costs onto the customers. Some apparel stores have already begun raising prices in their spring collections in what's on track to become a 10 percent price hike.

The Bedford Report releases regular market updates on the Apparel Stores Industry so investors can stay ahead of the crowd and make the best investment decisions to maximize their returns. Take a few minutes to register with us free at and get exclusive access to our numerous analyst reports and industry newsletters.

Earlier this month American Eagle said that its comparable-store sales in January slipped 6 percent. For the company's fiscal 2010, comparable store sales fell one percent versus a decline of four percent in the prior year. Total sales for the year increased to $2.97 billion from $2.94 billion in fiscal 2010.

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