Washington D.C. – Government watchdog Accountable.US released a new analysis of earnings data of the top ten U.S. apparel companies by market capitalization finding that they all raised consumer prices while collectively reporting at least $12.9 billion in increased profits during their most recent fiscal years for a total of $13.6 billion. These same companies also doled out $7.6 billion on shareholder handouts in their most recent fiscal years, with $3.9 billion more in planned handouts.
Big apparel are among the industries most unapologetic about charging their customers more during a fragile economic recovery, apparently just because they can. When many in the industry boast of being in better shape than even before the pandemic – reporting billions of extra profits and new rewards for investors – it’s obvious they didn’t need to mark up sticker prices for their customers to the degree they have. Consumers should remember that these companies known for fast fashion had a choice, and they chose to chase fast profits instead of slowing down costs at the retail end.”
Accountable.US president Kyle Herrig
The new analysis followed Accountable.US’ recent report digging into two major food categories — grocery and restaurants — under the CPI. The analysis found that the top-five companies within these two CPI categories all raised prices while collectively making at least $8.6 billion in extra profits during their 2021 fiscal years for a total of $38.7 billion. These same companies have also ramped up spending on stock buybacks and dividends by $11 billion year-over-year for a total of $37.6 billion.
- Nike, which highlighted the “strategic and financial” benefits of “full price realization,” increased its net income by 126% to $5.7 billion, doled out $2.3 billion on shareholder handouts, and saw its most recent quarterly net income soar to nearly $1.4 billion.
- In its FY 2022, TJX companies—whose CEO admitted that “inflationary price increase[s]” were “a major opportunity for us at TJX,”—saw its net income soar 3,548% to over $3.28 billion and spent over $3.4 billion on shareholder handouts, including a nearly 350% increase in dividends and a 980% increase in stock buybacks from its FY 2021.
- After Ross Stores implemented its “strategic process” to raise prices, the company’s FY 2021 net earnings jumped 1,917% to over $1.7 billion and boosted stock buybacks 390% to nearly $650 million and increased dividend spending 299% to $405 million––along with announcing a new $1.9 billion buyback program.
- Burlington Stores—whose CEO boasted that an “inflationary price environment could drive up greater traffic to our stores” and that the company “will get more aggressive [in raising prices] in the coming quarters“—hailed 2021 as a “record-breaking year,” with the company raking in $408 million in net income and handed out $250 million to shareholders, with $500 million more to come.
- Tapestry–– a “modern luxury” brand including Stuart Weitzman, Coach, and Kate Spade—plans to continue increasing average selling prices to counter cost pressures despite seeing its net income swell to over $834 million and plans to spend $750 million on shareholder handouts.
- Under Armour—which announced a $500 million stock buyback program in February 2022 to “enhance shareholder value“—viewed supply chain issues as an “‘opportunity to raise prices,’” as the company raked in over $360 million in its FY 2021 and held $1.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents at the end of 2021.