Drycleaners Hit Hard By Hanger Prices

Ian P. Murphy |

CHICAGO — An overwhelming 86.8% of operators report that the price of hangers has gone up in the last month, according to the most recent survey appearing in the Wire, since the Commerce Department instituted preliminary tariffs on steel wire hangers made in China.
Only 5.9% of operators said that they haven’t seen a price increase, while slightly more (7.4%) weren’t sure if prices had gone up or hadn’t reordered since the tariffs’ debut. “We purchased a substantial quantity in anticipation of the tariff,” one respondent says. “It will be 90 days before the full impact affects us.”
Among the operators who are paying more for hangers, most are paying a lot more. Some 44.1% say they’ve soaked up price increases of 50% or more, and another 27.1% have seen prices jump 31% to 50%. “A box of 500 wire shirt hangers jumped from $17.95 to $41.60,” one respondent says. “That is a jump of 231%. This is ludicrous — it’s highway robbery.”
More than one-quarter of respondents (28.9%) reported smaller price increases. Only 5.1% said that hanger prices had gone up less than 10% since Commerce’s decision, 11.9% estimated the price increase at 11% to 20%, and 11.9% said prices had gone up 21% to 30%.
While some respondents are waiting for the dust to settle before raising retail prices, others said they plan to pass the increase in costs on to customers immediately. “I am disappointed our government did nothing to protect U.S.-based hanger manufacturers soon enough,” one says. “I will have to raise my prices.”
Another respondent said simply, “This sucks.”

About the author

Ian P. Murphy

Freelance Writer

Ian P. Murphy is a freelance writer based in Chicago, and was the editor of American Drycleaner from 1999 to 2011.


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