In the world of obscure commodities, down is the new up.
An increase in the price of down filling is forcing apparel and bedding makers to re-engineer their goods, search for alternatives or warn retailers they'll have to pass along the higher costs to consumers.
It may seem odd to worry about down prices amid a warmer than usual spring, but stores are already planning pricing for their winter assortments, and puffy down jackets and vests remain a fast-selling staple everywhere from low-priced L.L. Bean and Uniqlo to luxury retailer Moncler.
The North Face, an outdoor brand owned by clothing maker VF Corp. VFC -2.70% that is famous for its down-filled jackets, is expecting to raise the price of its down products for the first time in five years, said VF Chief Executive Eric Wiseman.
Hollander Home Fashions LLC, one of the largest bedding and pillow manufacturers in North America, has seen its margins on pillows and comforters shrink as down prices floated higher....MORE