Danish childrenswear sales were down 24 per cent on last year's figures in October. Retailers have blamed the mild weather, which has held up sales of winter stock.

October is usually the busiest month of the year, according to the Danish Textile Union. "Maybe the money was spent elsewhere, in supermarkets and Hennes and Mauritz, but we don't think so, "said Leif Bernth, director of the Danish Textile Union. He reckons that parents are still using lightweight spring jackets that are just right for the unseasonably mild weather.

"The autumn half term holiday was dreadful. It should otherwise have been good, because the parents had just got their half-yearly child allowance. I don't know what happened, but maybe the weather was to blame too," Mr Bernth added. Annual turnover has not been adversely affected however, October losses were made up for by strong sales in summer and at the start of the year.

By Penny Leese