To me, this is pretty excuseless... Whatever Hasbro's tossing out is simply masking what I personally feel is a $1 increase being passed onto consumers due to the line's either faltering popularity or mishandling. I think it's more than likely this is all-in from both Hasbro and the retailers, and they're thinking it'll compensate a little for the cluster**** that has been the line since 2009/2010.
Though, as with all previous price-hikes since 2008, I look at this as another step backwards... Higher prices seemingly, at least to my eyes, have shown to only slow sales rates... This can only hurt the line.
I'll second too that any flaw, cost cut, or regression in quality is now a HUGE punch in the nuts. Hell, I think for $8 you have a good gripe on even miinor flaws. Now stuff like the Fleet Trooper not having a holster, the DST having republic logos on his shoulders, sloppy (or non-existant) paint aps, or things like miscolored pins in joints... ALL Lame. Any regression in articulation is inexcusable... Those battlepack figures, which one can only assume those'll go up in price too, really look like a rip off now.
I'm having a tough time finding where to cut out figures again... It's hard to scale back further for me. Looks like army building is out the window for good now though, as is customizing bits.