The trend for cheap clothing will be phased out as retailers come under pressure from increasing overheads and growing consumer concerns over ethical sourcing, according to retail analysts Verdict Consulting.
A new report says that retailers are expected to pass on rising energy, staff and rent costs to consumers but prices will also increase if the demand for ethical sourcing leads to the end of cheap offshore manufacturing.
The expected inflation, estimated to be 4.7% for womenswear by 2012, brings an end to a 12-year fall in clothing prices, which has led to the success of supermarket clothing lines such as George@Asda and budget high-street store Primark.
The availability of large volumes of clothes at low prices has led to a saturation of the market, with the average UK woman now buying twice as many items per year than a decade ago. Verdict predicts that retailers will focus on added value ranges and customer experience to convince consumers to continuing buying if prices do rise.