Figures from the online auction site show that the sale of shoes, clothes and accessories has risen 55pc in the last two years, and 29pc this year alone.

This week’s inflation figures provided some respite from soaring clothes prices, which have been hit by the cost of oil. The wholesale cost of cotton has tripled in a year after poor harvests in China and Pakistan, and experts fear the rise in clothing prices will continue. Official figures for last year registered Britain’s first increase in clothing and footwear prices since 1992, up 0.9pc.

High street retailers say that prices of clothes will continue to rise over the summer, with Debenhams warning that a man’s winter coat will cost 20pc more this autumn than last, while retail consultancy Verdict is forecasting 5pc inflation in clothing prices across the board.

Instead, customers are opting to buy their clothes second-hand, with increasing numbers also selling on items on the auction website when they have finished with them. The list of popular brands ranges from top-end luxury to modest workwear, while shoppers are also taking advantage of the new Fashion Outlet stores on eBay, where top high street brands are sold brand new for less.

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