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York in the grip of a bra and knickers boom
ROMANTIC men looking to spice up their love lives this Christmas will not have far to go - York is in the grip of a bra and knickers boom.
Retail property experts said lingerie stores had replaced sandwich shops as the latest trend to hit the high street.
Andrew Hedley, of retail property agent Blacks, said in the last few months there had been huge demand from the sexy undergarment trade for vacant premises. Those shops to have recently opened in York include: Leia, in Spurriergate; Kathryn Rolfe, in Micklegate; Boudoir Kiss, in Back Swinegate, and Gash, in Fossgate. Mr Hedley said two more lingerie businesses were also currently looking at suitable premises in the city centre.
"I've been really surprised by the demand," he said. "Demand for retail property in York has always gone in cycles. In recent years it has been coffee shops, then sandwich shops and now it seems to be lingerie shops. There is a real boom and I think they will do very well."
Kathryn Rolfe, who recently opened her lingerie shop in Micklegate with her mother, Marion, said making men feel relaxed was the key to success. She said they always gave them time and space to look around and even offered a cup of coffee or glass of wine to calm their nerves. Seasonally coloured red lingerie sets were their current biggest sellers, said Ms Rolfe, who used to manage Rigby & Peller's flagship store in Knightsbridge, London, serving royalty and A-list stars like Princess Michael of Kent, Cate Blanchett and Lauren Baccall.
"The men we've had in have been very considerate of their partners and don't buy something which is impractical," she said.
"Red is a good colour to buy as it's very fashionable at the moment. It's a nice sign that men still find their wives and girlfriends sexy."
Mr Hedley said that the sudden upsurge in demand for lingerie shops could be because of the explosion of big-name fashion stores opening in York, like Zara, H&M, Whistles, Coast and Morgan.
"Who knows what trend we will get next in York?" he said.
- We asked the people of York what they thought of the city's lingerie boom...
Karen Linley, of Cawood, a customer at newly-opened Boudoir Kiss, in Back Swinegate, said: "We need more shops like this. They offer a really friendly service and are glamorous."
Julie Aston, a stallholder at York's Newgate Market, said: "I don't think many men are afraid to go and shop in them now. Underwear is something we will always need."
Ginny White, of Selby, said: "It's fashionable to buy sexy underwear these days."
Bo Johnson, 28, of Copmanthorpe, said: "Blokes are getting better at buying sexy presents - that is a fact. I buy lingerie for my girlfriend."
Dave Swaine, a butcher, of Wigginton, said: "I don't think blokes are afraid to go and buy lingerie now. It wasn't really done much before."