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Factory-direct goods

Supply chains to consumers are getting shorter. Take Everlane, a Web-only company that designs and manufacturers clothing with less markup than comparable high-end brands, said Jack Plunkett of Plunkett Research. "There's a lot of experimentation of that going on," he said. Down the line, consumers will see more opportunities to buy everything from clothing and furniture to gadgets and home goods directly from manufacturers—and even factories themselves—rather than through retailers. Online ordering and home delivery will make that easier, and more attractive amid rising prices.

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