German fashion sales plunged nine per cent year-on-year to $1.2 billion in the first five months of this year, new figures from the Federal Association of German Textile Retailers revealed on Thursday.

The group said womenswear sales fell by $692m and menswear sales by $543m amid a high street price war which is likely to lead to around 1,600 clothing retailers going bust by year end.

It added turnover is expected to remain flat this year and blamed the slowdown on the introduction of the euro and tax hikes.

Commenting on figures for 2001, the association said that despite strong sales of T-shirts and jeans, women purchased less skirts, coats, lingerie and dresses, while men bought less leather jackets and suits.