Japan's men's wear sales have seen their first gain for 14 years as the economy shrugs off a 10-year slump and cultural changes stemming from fears of global warming shape demand.

Sales of men's wear grew 2.0% to JPY2.77trn in fiscal 2005, against a 1.7% rise in total revenue in department stores, according to leading business newspaper the Nikkei.

Retailers and apparel makers are forecasting even great sales for 2006 and 2007 as Japan shifts its economy, the world's second biggest, into high gear.

Government-inspired initiatives such as Cool Biz and warm biz that asked men to abandon traditional suits and ties in order to adjust office thermostats - and thus save energy - led to a 1.1% growth in men's wear sales for the same period, according to analysts.

By Michael Fitzpatrick.