Female consumers are fuelling the growth in Chinese consumer spending, according to a report by Credit Suisse.

Analysts at the financial firm mark out companies such as LVMH, Christian Dior and Valentino among the country's top performers.

Retail sales in China surged 15.5% in the first seven months of the year from the comparable period in 2006, to CNY4.9 trillion (US$0.65 trillion).

Despite the country's love affair with faked fashion goods there are signs that working women in urban areas are behind the surge, and what they buy is often luxury goods.

By Michael Fitzpatrick.