By PlanetLaundry staff | Jun 06, 2012
If you stock wire hangers for your wash-dry-fold business, your costs may be going up – if they haven’t already done so.
Hangers are likely to get substantially costlier, after the U.S. recently imposed new trade penalties on hangers from Vietnam. In recent years, many American coin laundries and drycleaners have come to rely on Vietnamese-made hangers.
Flora Yadegar, who operates four drycleaners in California, expects her hanger costs to rise soon, forcing her to hike rates accordingly, according to a CNN Money report. Yadegar is already contemplating tacking on another 30 cents to 55 cents to the bill for cleaning a suit, pants or a shirt in the near future.
“Two drycleaners in my neighborhood just closed,” she explained. “We are struggling with costs.”
She knows raising prices will upset some customers, but “I have to do it,” Yadegar added. “Otherwise how am I going to survive?”
Hanger suppliers say they're facing similar pressures, and with margins slim, they'll be forced to pass along any higher costs to their customers.
Sam Monempour, vice president of 3Hanger Supply Company, where Yadegar buys hangers for her outlets, warns that the new duties will require him to nearly double his prices to 9 cents from 5 cents each. The company buys all its wire hangers from Vietnam, and he's pretty confident other suppliers that sell imported hangers will follow suit.
In recent years, Vietnam has become the top exporter of hangers to the U.S. In 2011, the U.S. imported $31 million worth of Vietnamese hangers, up from $19.5 million in 2009, according to the Department of Commerce.
Vietnamese manufacturers have benefited from the rising cost of Chinese-made hangers, after the U.S. imposed punitive tariffs on them in 2008, according to Monempour. Now, Vietnam faces trade penalties as well. The Commerce Department has announced it will impose duties as high as 21 percent on hangers made in Vietnam after finding that its government was unfairly subsidizing wire hanger exports.
But that leaves wholesalers here with limited options. Monempour said the Vietnamese manufacturers he buys from recently stopped shipping to the U.S. in anticipation of the duties.
“I don't have any new shipments coming in right now,” said Monempour, whose firm is one of the largest distributors of wire hangers on the West Coast. “I'm in big trouble if this continues.”