MADRID — The continuing economic slump, growing possibility of a war with Iraq and increased prices due to a climbing euro — roughly 25 percent higher than last year — are paralyzing Spain’s apparel industry, said vendors and retailers at the recent SIMM show.

"Spanish consumers have tightened their belts," said Carina Bentolila, a human resources analyst and spokeswoman for Marcelane, a London-based manufacturer of special-occasion dresses. "They don’t want to spend money. The euro has hiked prices across the board, from groceries to housing, and domestic spending is way down.Independent retailers are doing very badly and are losing a great deal of money. For instance, traditional January sales offered markdowns of 60 to 70 percent. At least with the sales, and some of them have stretched through February, retailers can get something back."

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