Business: Shearing the Shackles

The carpet industry, said James D. Wise, president of Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Co., Inc., last week, "has been shackled to a sheep for too long." And the sheep has given the industry a rough ride; in six months carpet wool prices jumped from 85¢ a lb. to as high as $2.30. In an attempt to keep up with soaring raw-wool prices, U.S. manufacturers priced their carpets right out of the market. As sales dropped and inventories piled up, three big price cuts in carpets failed to pull the industry out of its worst slump in years; production was headed for a 20%...

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