Figures from the Czech Statistical Office show that the Czech Republic produced 114,952 handbags last year, compared with 135,472 in 2002 and 506,619 back in 1994, according to the CTK news agency’s Business News.

However, the Krol Susice leathergoods producers said they are producing 30,000-60,000 leather handbags a year, all of which are exported. They are also producing 50,000-150,000 synthetic leather handbags a year. The company said that handbag production in the Czech Republic is unlikely to survive past 2010, due to high labour costs and a lack of interesting and attractive materials. The Czech leather handbags market is being taken over by imports from Poland, Italy and especially Asian countries such as China.

Czech Statistical Office data reveals that the Czech Republic imported 190 tonnes of leather handbags worth US$5.96 million in 2003, while leather handbag exports were worth US$5.04 million.