American companies are starting to test the extent of their pricing power.
Faced with rising costs for materials, transportation and workers, companies are charging more for products from metal fasteners to Oreo cookies, helping fuel inflation like the U.S. hasn’t seen in more than a decade.
As customers accept the price hikes, some big companies said they expect to raise prices even more. Others are more cautious, unsure if U.S. consumers have the appetite to absorb additional increases.
What companies decide will go a long way to answering a question that has surged to the top of executives’ and economists’ agendas this year: Is the recent jump in inflation transitory, as the Federal Reserve predicts, or persistent, as some executives warn?
Fastenal Co. , a major distributor of industrial supplies such as nuts and bolts, and Conagra Brands Inc., a food conglomerate, illustrate the pricing dance playing out across the biggest U.S. firms. Both companies are passing along higher costs to customers. They have different views about what happens next.