Lingerie brands specialising in bigger cup sizes posted double-digit growth over the year, while mainstream labels felt the pinch from the high street.
Peter Cronin, sales director at Panache, said the industry had not been “massively” affected by the downturn. “I remember the recession of the early 1990s. Women are more likely to treat themselves to a bra than an expensive item [of clothing].”
Tracy Lewis, managing director of Eveden, whose brands include Freya, added: “We had a great July and saw double-digit growth in the year to the end of June.”
But she warned that brands with a generic offer could suffer. “If you have mass-market appeal consumers will trade down.”
Jennifer Dunn, marketing manager for Lepel, said buyers at the Harrogate Lingerie & Swimwear Exhibition last week were playing it safe. “We’ve seen a knock-on effect from the high street, but we’ve had a great reaction to spring 09,” she said.
Buyers at Harrogate were sticking with old favourites. Sandra Davies, managing director of Sandra Dee in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, said: “I’m sticking with brands like Prima Donna and Aubade.”
Kathryn Rolfe, co-owner of Kathryn Rolfe in York, said: “We’ve picked up a new brand called Irresistible, but fit and smaller back sizes are still key.”