Clothing and footwear markets in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia are expected to exceed EUR15bn (US$20.8bn) in 2013 as they continue to recover from the economic downturn.

According to the latest forecast from PMR, last year saw some improvement in the clothing and footwear industry after a major downturn in the Central European retail markets in 2009. But it says growth did not return to all countries, with the slowdown continuing in Hungary and Slovakia and the Czech Republic's fashion market stagnating.

The report, 'Clothing and footwear retail market in Central Europe 2011; Market analysis and development forecasts for 2011-2013,' says the overall fashion market in the Central European (CE) region was worth EUR12.8bn in 2010. A rise of almost 5% is seen in 2011, mostly in Romania and Poland.

Between 2011 and 2013, all of the Central European clothing and footwear markets analysed are expected to rise, although at different rates, and to achieve combined sales worth more than EUR15bn in 2013.

Poland is the largest fashion market in the region and its fashion industry was less severely affected by the economic crisis than those of the other countries. The Polish companies LPP and NG2 are among the strongest players in terms of sales revenues and store count.

In terms of number of stores, Orsay and Deichmann are the most numerous clothing and footwear retail chains in the region. They are present in each of the five markets considered, with around 250 and 415 active stores respectively in mid-2011.

Slovakia is estimated to have the highest sales value per person, and Romania the lowest. However, the latter is expected to witness the most dynamic increase over the next three years, in terms of spending on clothing and footwear.

As the least developed country in the region, many international companies have only just opened their first stores in Romania. At the end of March 2011, Sweden's H&M finally entered the market.

The expansion of clothing and footwear retailers usually takes place in tandem with the development of shopping centres, and Romania, Poland and Slovakia are set to see the most marked increases, of at least 50%, in leasable area between now and 2013.