"Consumers think any towel or sheet is as good as any other, and that's a costly mistake," explains James Dion, president of Dionco, a Chicago-based retail consulting firm. Two bedding and bath suppliers, who preferred to remain anonymous, gave the following advice for examining bedding and bath merchandise.
Towels: The standard bath sheet size is 35 by 60 inches, but bath sheets in stores today may be sized 30 by 54 and cost the same or less than their larger counterparts. Compare towels by size and feel first, then on price for comparable items.
Bedding: Pure-spun microfiber polyester is the cost-cutting bedding textile retailers from Wal-Mart to Bed Bath & Beyond turned to in 2011. A recent price check found that pure cotton 250 to 300 thread-count sheets cost double the same size microfiber. The thinner microfiber splits easily and does not breathe like cotton. Pure cotton thread counts now range from 100 to 1,000, with the lowest feeling like burlap. The main difference between the 600-count and 1,000-count is the exorbitant price. If the label doesn't specify, it is likely a cotton-polyester blend. And bedding sets may contain fewer items than you remember.