Kit Yarrow

The department store industry, coming off its worst year in three decades of market share decline, is mounting an all-out battle for the next generation of shoppers. After years of looking the other way as H&M, Forever 21, Zara and an ever-expanding array of online retailers captured the under-25 market, department stores are pouring money and effort into winning them back.

Just as recession battered consumers are trickling back to malls, clothes makers in the U.S. face a tough choice. Squeezed by ballooning raw material, labor and freight costs, manufacturers are fretting they might have to raise prices in fragile markets to maintain margins.

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