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East will drive European clothing growth

The European clothing market is forecast to grow 9.3% in the next five years as eastern European spending escalates.

In the five years to 2017 the market in Europe is forecast to grow to €309.9bn (£249.33bn), according to Verdict Research’s Euro Clothing report. Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia combined are expected to be the main drivers of growth, having bucked all trends in the past five years. Although in the period the European clothing market shrunk 4.3% to €283.4bn (£228.01bn), these six markets grew an average of 13.3%.

Verdict analyst Honor Westnedge said: “The markets are becoming more westernised and shoppers are looking to buy more brands that they recognise.”

“You only have to look at where retailers are going. Marks & Spencer has launched a German website, so it is obviously eyeing that market.”

UK spend on clothing has grown 2.6% in the past year to £38.9bn, and is likely to grow further over the next five years.

Westnedge said: “Volume has suffered in the UK as people don’t have the disposable income to buy the items that they would have done, but any rise is due to inflation and prices going up. Unemployment is falling, inflation is easing and consumer confidence is returning, so people will be happy to spend money again.”

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