Cotton prices skyrocket on shortage

By Sherea Harris

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - There's a cotton shortage, and you could soon be feeling the effects of it.

Cotton prices have doubled recently, and eventually those costs will be passed on to consumers.

The clothing store owner I spoke to says she is trying to rebound from the slower sales that she's been experiencing. And she's concerned that raising prices could make matters worse.

At "The Clothes Tree" a small boutique in Jefferson County, a lot of the clothes are either 100 percent cotton or some kind of blend.

Owner Deborah Wiggins says she may carry less cotton apparel if prices get too high.

UAB marketing professor Mickey Gee says the U.S. imports a lot of it's raw cotton.

It's a hot commodity right now in other countries. So the price increase is a supply and demand issue.

Gee says the only way to prevent the increase in the future is to stop outsourcing U.S. jobs in the cotton industry.

"So now we are being held to a form of hostage on cotton, textile jobs," said Mickey Gee. "We are going to see this more and more unless we get export and import policies that are fair to American citizens."

"I hope it won't be a huge increase," said Deborah Wiggins, clothing store owner. "(I) Hope people will realize it's not just store owners, it's something we have to do to stay in business."

This means prices for t-shirts, jeans and any fabric with cotton will cost more possibly as soon as next month for apparel not made in the USA.

Gee says shoppers will certainly see the increase by the end of the year unfortunately just in time for the holiday shopping season.

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