Short-sheets may make for a frosty winter

New York — Volume sheet suppliers are warning there may be product shortages in mid-winter and early spring, particularly on replenishment goods, as manufacturers are increasingly refusing to accept orders without price upgrades.

The hike in cotton pricing has driven the cost of finished sheets up by as much as 15 to 20 percent. From spinners to weavers, production facilities overseas are demanding that their customers share the burden. With the last bales of 2002's low price cotton running out, many are taking a short-term approach to contracts before breaking open loads of September's much pricier cotton.

"There are many people who will not take orders nor quote for more than a few weeks at a time, making it extremely difficult to plan programs with retailers," said Sandy McNeil, president of fashion bedding at Hollander Home Fashions. "We own greige goods and are [therefore] not stuck, but I know this is happening from a quote standpoint and have heard horror stories. We are trying to secure business going forward and it is very difficult to quote when we cannot get pricing."

Greige producers are facing their own product shortages as some foreign spinning operations have shut down temporarily, unwilling to produce yarn at a loss. It's not that no product exists, suppliers say, it's that producers of quality product are walking away from low-cost business.

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