Czech textile and clothing companies are turning to the Internet to showcase their designs to the world as the threat of recession triggers fears about a riches-to-rags reversal of fortunes.

Experts claim Czech companies will need all the interest the Internet can generate if they are to head off the recession that threatens to sour the industry's recent success.

Nearly 600 companies have hesitantly turned to the Web, but despite that trend, the sector's on-line business only accounts for around two per cent of total e-commerce turnover.

"By May we could already see a cooling off of the short-term boom," warned Jiri Kohoutek, head of the Association of Textile, Clothing and Leather Industries (ATOK).

"Demand in the United States and Western Europe has begun to stagnate, and if it doesn't move again, Czech textile companies will face serious problems."