The amount of retail selling space devoted to bras, underwear, sleepwear and swimwear in Russia has more than doubled over the last three years according to newly published research, with annual growth of 20% forecast until 2011.

Between spring 2005 and spring 2008, the country's lingerie retail trade has grown from 900 to 1,800 specialist stores, and revenues have soared to US$2.5bn from $1.26bn.

Sales of women's intimate apparel last year rose by 9% to EUR200m (US$312m).

There are currently around 82,000 square metres of lingerie retail space in Russia, as the country's largest cities jump onto the bandwagon.

But Moscow's share of Russia's lingerie retail space has fallen from 70% in 2005 to around 40% says the study, which was carried out by Stuttgart-based ITMM GmbH on behalf of trade fair organiser Igedo Company.

The reasons for this growth include rising disposable incomes, heavy investment in the construction of new shopping centres, and more fashionable designs.

Russian intimate apparel retailers have also diversified into specialised shops dedicated to men's underwear, large sizes or petites, and swim and beachwear.

New speciality shops and chains include 'VI Legion' or 'XO' for men's underwear, and 'Bikini, Bikini Boom and Jemini which focus on swimwear.

According to industry executives like Alexander Fedorov, president of leading lingerie chain operator Wild Orchid Holding, the Russian lingerie market will continue to grow at an average annual rate of 20% until 2011.

This projection will apply in particular to the mid-priced sector, driven by provincial demand.

Growth in the premium-to-luxury segment, however, is likely to be at lower rates, averaging 7%.

The study also points out that the ongoing verticalisation of the lingerie market has put pressure on wholesalers, many of whom have started their own multi-brand lingerie chains.

And market leaders like Triumph International now operate their own Russian distribution subsidiaries, incorporating stock supply facilities from which retailers are directly served.

A copy of the new study is being made available to all exhibitors at CPM - Collection Première Moscow at the events in September 2008 and February 2009.