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Second-hand clothes retailers grown rapidly in Eastern Europe

Second-hand clothes retailers in Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria and Croatia have grown rapidly and, as the pace of income convergence between the West and Eastern Europe slows, they are investing millions of euros to expand their businesses further according to Reuters.

The global financial crisis hit hard in central and eastern Europe, but one industry has thrived: second-hand clothing stores. While in western Europe the squeeze on household finances prompted many consumers to turn to discount retailers like Primark , their peers further east – where wages are significantly lower – have shifted to the used clothing sector.

Brisk trade in Bulgaria, for example, has prompted one company – Mania – to open new stores in Romania and Greece, while in Hungary major player Hada is opening a 1.6 million euro sorting hall to cope with booming demand.

These companies and their rivals source their goods from western countries, buying them from so-called cash-for-clothes firms who pay people to recycle their old or unwanted outfits. Some are in pristine condition with the original price tag still attached.

There is no shortage of demand for their wares in central and eastern Europe, where most people are in lower-income brackets, by western European standards.

Source: Reuters

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