Ann Summers has had an influx of applications to host its eponymous parties as women try to find new ways to raise cash through the downturn.

Applications have risen 15 per cent in the last month according to The Mirror and 1,100 new party hosts have been taken on by the lingerie specialist.

Ann Summers has also introduced its Knickerbox products at parties for the first time. Knickerbox lingerie was formerly sold online and in stores.

Ann Summers chief executive Jacqueline Gold said: “By offering Knickerbox to our Party Plan customers, we can cater for the more fashion-forward shopper who wants feminine styles and beautiful basics.”

Ann Summers has run its parties for 26 years, and has around 7,500 party planners in the UK and Ireland. There are about 4,000 Ann Summers parties held each week.