By  on February 17, 1994

NEW YORK -- As winter storms put an icy chill on retail sales generally over the past weekend, sexy-looking lingerie steamed up business for Valentine's Day, according to a spot check of stores here and around the country.

Several reported that business topped last year's results.

Key items, according to retailers, included two-piece baby-doll sets, coordinating camisoles and tap pants, slinky slip gowns, teddies and chemises, bodystockings and panties with printed heart and lip motifs. Novelty items like G-strings, garters and thigh-high stockings also pulled in additional business, said innerwear retailers.

Silk, or anything that had a silk-like hand such as polyester charmeuse, and all-over sheer looks were in demand. Red, black and white were the top colors.

Marcia Haimbach, vice president of intimates at Federated Merchandising Corp., commented, "We had a lot of last-minute gift purchases for Valentine's Day. We had a large increase in the corporation in stretch lace teddies -- which is considered a sexy-looking classification."

"We sold lots of silk items, and had some very exciting selling of sexy bra, garter and panties sets," said Marty Nealon, senior vice president of fashion accessories and intimate apparel at Bloomingdale's. "We did very well with Vogue Dessous, Valentino, Natori and Donna Karan Intimates."

"Sex sells," said Lauren Bogen, owner of the intimate apparel shop here that bears her name, "and I certainly sold more sexy-looking lingerie this Valentine's Day than I have in a long time."

Despite horrendous weather that put a blanket on weekend business in the Northeast, retailers at specialty boutiques and major stores said a lot of walk-in traffic -- mostly men looking for gifts -- was generated through advertising, mailers and in-store promotions such as a "Men's Night" at Macy's Herald Square Thursday, the evening before the city's fiercest snowstorm of the winter.

The promotion, which was advertised in the New York Times, pulled in over 150 men and featured informal modeling, refreshments, an appearance by local sportscaster Carl White and jazz.

"Items that had a more sensual look sold well during this Valentine's Day promotion," said Benny Lin, fashion director of Macy's East.

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