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Larger-sized bra labels lift their lingerie market share

Lingerie brands specialising in bigger cup sizes are taking a larger slice of the UK market, although growth in the sector is slowing.
Research firm Mintel said the market for cup sizes D and above, which is mainly branded, will increase its share to 40% of the total UK market for 2007, a rise of 5% compared with 2003. The share of the market for sizes AA to C is likely to fall by 5% during the same period to 60%.

The size of the lingerie sector as a whole grew by 1.9% in 2006, according to Mintel’s Lingerie 2007 report, to £1.52 billion. Sales of branded lingerie fell by 29% to £442 million, while own-label sales soared by 71% to £1.08bn.

The report attributes the downturn to price deflation, as retailers lower their prices to compete with “the Primark challenge”. Mintel said that women bought more lingerie items but at lower prices. However, more expensive D-size and above bras are less affected by deflation.

Tracey Lewis, managing director of Eveden, which owns larger cup-size bra brands Freya, Fantasie and Goddess, said the group’s UK market share rocketed by 29% last year. She attributed the growth to increased awareness among women that they should wear the right bra size.

“Women have become increasingly aware of what their bra size is, and I think Eveden, with its stores such as Rigby & Peller and Bravissimo, has played a part in communicating that,” she said.

“Consumers also have a lot more choice now. TV shows such as How to Look Good Naked and Trinny and Susannah’s What Not To Wear have also helped to promote the importance of wearing the right size underwear.”

Market leader Marks & Spencer increased its share to 28% in 2006, up from 26% in 2004.

Mintel predicts the lingerie market will grow by 11% at current prices between 2007 and 2012, increasing to an estimated £1.7bn by 2012.

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