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Expensive gift options give lingerie sales a boost

The run-up to Valentine's Day produced mixed results for lingerie brands and retailers, but trading up helped sales.

Amanda Lepar, lingerie buyer for House of Fraser, said it was a very traditional Valentine's Day in terms of colour, with good sales of red and black. Her best-selling brands were Elle Macpherson and DKNY. "They are names that guys recognise," said Lepar. She added that premium-priced brands Lejaby and Chantelle had both also performed well. "If men were going into a store to buy a present, they were looking to make a more expensive purchase," she said.

At Rigby & Peller, which has three stores in London, head of buying Nicky Clayton said: "We had an amazing run-up to Valentine's Day. It started the Saturday before with men buying lots of sets. Lejaby's Elixir range did very well. We managed to sell plenty of sets left over from Christmas, plus lots of blacks and vibrant pinks."

However, Harrods head buyer for lingerie Sarah Cohen said Valentine's Day trading was not as strong as last year, with an early sales build-up soon fading away. Nevertheless, she reported strong performances from Elle Macpherson Boudoir and Madame V, with pink selling particularly well.

John Lewis said that in the week running up to Valentine's Day, lingerie and nightwear sales were up by a total of 31% on the previous week and by 30% on the previous year. A spokeswoman said the most popular styles with shoppers were balconette bras and thongs. Red was the winning colour, with sales up 90% on the previous week, while pink was the second most popular, up 40%.

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