Stores are trying everything they can think of to disguise the fact that the clothing racks will be full of higher priced goods this fall.
Some sellers are using less fabric and calling it the new look. Others are adding cheap stitching and trumpeting it as a redesign.
Retailers are raising prices on merchandise an average of 10 percent in an effort to offset their rising costs. But merchants are worried that cash-strapped customers who are weighed down by economic woes will balk. So, retailers are trying to raise prices without tipping off unsuspecting customers.
One Wall Street strategies analyst calls it "consumer trickery."
The new strategies come as merchants' production and labor costs are expected to rise 10 percent to 20 percent in the second half of the year after decades of stability.