And, the reason it has a higher mark-up than say washing machines is because clothing stores have to carry so many diff sizes for each item, whereas washing machines don't have this problem.
No, clothes have a higher mark-up because people are willing to pay more for clothes versus how much it costs to manufacture the clothes, plain and simple. Clothing stores do not "set" prices -- the price at which a piece of clothing sells is determined by the buyer. If the buyer doesn't like the price, he walks out of the store empty-handed yet wallet-full. Sure, the clothing store may put a price label on the item that reflects the mark-up they HOPE to get, but in the end, they may only get a lower mark-up after the price has been reduced multiple times and a buyer finally comes along and determines the price at which it will sell. Successful clothing stores carry many different sizes BECAUSE they can afford to do so given the mark-ups we buyers allow them to earn. These successful clothing stores must be doing something (selling a style, a brand, a shopping experience, a level of service, a lifestyle image we want to fit our psyches into, etc.) that we are willing to reward them by paying a higher mark-up. It's harder to fit washing machines into a style, a brand, a lifestyle, etc. but manufacturers sure are trying. There are many washing machine brands with panache (Maytag, Bosch, etc.) that cost no more to manufacture than a vanilla-brand Kenmore or GE washing machine. The difference is in the marketing and the resulting mark-up we reward the marketers for doing such a good job of convincing us of our need for a particular branded washing machine. They can get pretty decent mark-ups too -- they just have to work harder to get it. My point is, a price is NOT determined by the costs incurred by the seller to sell the item. Rather, the market determines the prices and it's up to the seller to determine what kind of costs he or she wants to incur to make a sufficient profit that makes being in business worth the while in the first place. When I sell clothes on eBay, the mark-up I receive is 100% determined by the buyer. *I* am the powerless victim in this brutal, uncaring, and unfair marketplace. Please cry for me.