Caught between an irresistible force and an immovable object, the American Woolen Co. has long had a squeezed feeling. Irresistible force: the demand of consumers, retailers and clothing manufacturers for lower prices. Immovable object: the sky-high postwar price of Australian fleece, up some 120% since 1939 (TIME, Feb. 14).

As American Woolen's profits tumbled 19.8% in 1949's first quarter, President Moses Pendleton bravely tried to prod waiting buyers into action by boosting prices. Last week, conceding that his bluff had been called, Pendleton trimmed an average 9% off the price of fabrics for men's & women's clothes. That meant, the trade...

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