A study coordinated by Norway's National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO) has concluded that a common European clothes sizing standard would help consumers, after its research found current labelled sizes were erratic.

Assessing clothes in Norway, Sweden and Finland, the institute especially found "great variation in sizes of women's clothing."

The report said: "Less than 1% of the survey respondents could always use the same size.

"The majority of women (65%) say that they find big size differences between different labels or stores, whereas the majority of men (51%) only find some variations."

It added "pairs of trousers labelled L could be smaller than another labelled S", with inseam lengths differing by up to 14cm between trousers labelled the same size.

"In general, we found discrepancies in trouser sizes…but the size variations are greater for women," said the report.

A total of 83% of respondents backed creating a new common European labelling system based on harmonised sizing rules.

By Keith Nuthall.