SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

February 16, 2011 11:25 ET

Apparel Stores Pass Surging Cotton Prices to the Customers

The Bedford Report Provides Analyst Research on Abercrombie & Fitch and Guess?

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 Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) and Guess? Inc. (NYSE: GES). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

www.bedfordreport.com/2011-02-ANF

www.bedfordreport.com/2011-02-GES

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 www.bedfordreport.com and get exclusive access to our numerous analyst reports and industry newsletters.

Earlier this month Abercrombie & Fitch said that its comparable-store sales in January slipped four percent year-on-year. For the company's fiscal 2010, Abercrombie & Fitch reported comparable-store sales growth of 7 percent while net sales for the period increased 18 percent.

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