Despite France and Italy's reputation as a haven for the sales of designer shoes, it is across the Channel where growth in the industry has been fastest in Europe, according to research published on Tuesday.
The footwear market in Britain is set to grow a further 17 per cent between 2006 and 2010, according to market research firm Mintel, after having expanded by 38 per cent in the past five years to reach $12.3 billion by the end of the year.
By comparison, the market for shoes in Italy, the largest in Europe, has grown by just one per cent over the last five years, while France has seen growth of just four per cent.
"Footwear in the UK has moved centre stage in the world of fashion and demand has been growing rapidly," said Richard Perks, director of retail research at Mintel.
"People are now far more willing to buy a pair of shoes for a specific occasion or to go with one particular outfit."
Italians will have spent 14.6 billion euros on shoes this year, followed by Germany at 10.4 billion euros, Sweden at 9.6 billion euros, Britain at 9.4 billion euros and France at eight billion euros.