Bra humbug: Will Santa be bringing you some stockings this Christmas?


Luxury lingerie sales seem to be thriving despite economic difficulties.


By Sophie Devonshire, Khaleda Rahman & Katie Richardson

Luxury lingerie sales are thriving, despite economic difficulties, according to high-end lingerie brand Agent Provocateur.

The British retailer launched its flagship store in Mayfair on Tuesday – its fifth standalone boutique in the UK. 

They face stiff competition from American lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret, who hit the UK this summer, with stores in Westfield Stratford City and Bond Street.

But are Londoners willing to splash the cash this Christmas?

Agent Provocateur’s Creative Director Sarah Shotton said: “The recession has not tempered our customers’ appetite for beautifully-made lingerie.”

She added both male and female customers see the value in investing in high-end lingerie.

“Our lingerie is designed to celebrate the female body and to make women look and feel amazing,” she said.

Sophie Norris, 24, said: “It was really exciting when Victoria’s Secret came to London. The styles are great and the fitting rooms are perfect.

“The Angels are everywhere and in all the magazines! They don’t influence my purchases, but it certainly helps seeing the styles on how every girl dreams of looking.”

Recruitment Consultant Becky Smith, 24, said: “I love Victoria’s Secret because nice underwear that is reasonably priced is hard to find.”

Ms Norris added sizing is an issue when it comes to lingerie shopping.

She said: “I’m a ‘normal’ size and VS doesn’t do every style in my size so I was very limited to what I could choose.”

She explained she would spend up to £75 and stretch to £150 for a special occasion and perfect fit.

However, a poll we conducted of women in their twenties shows 65% would not spend over £35 on a matching underwear set.

An M&S spokesperson said the price people are willing to pay for lingerie depends on what they are looking for.

She said: “We the company pride ourselves in offering customers a broad range of lingerie with price points to suit all budgets.

“Those wanting to turn up the glamour and treat themselves to something extra special may be willing to spend a little more.”

She explained the Rosie for Autograph deco bra, priced £35, has been especially popular with customers.

She added: “We feel that value is the most important factor when purchasing lingerie.”

Daisy Livett, founder of independent online lingerie retailer, said: “There is something about investing in well made lingerie. I think wearing luxury lingerie makes women feel a million dollars”

She added: “I feel that cheap lingerie can in fact have the opposite effect and can make women actually feel tacky and a bit cheaper.”

La Belle started stocking lesser known lingerie brands, such as Playful Promises and Maison Close, two months ago.

Ms Livett said sales have been good and 83% of La Belle’s lingerie customers are females buying for themselves.


And how much would men spend on someone special?

Cyrus Engineer, 23, said: “It depends on how much I like her.”

Zac Norman, 26, said: “With encouragement I would buy something for my girlfriend. I’d be scared I’d buy something she’d hate otherwise.”


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