French underwear brand Soft Paris is aiming to take on Ann Summers as it prepares to launch in the UK.

The retailer sells its wares through home parties - inspired by Ann Summers - and is hiring staff in the UK to host them. The brand operates in France, Belgium, Spain and Italy at present.

Boss Anne-Charlotte Desruelle, a former corporate lawyer, said Soft Paris is the number one direct sales business in the underwear market in France, selling lingerie, cosmetics and boudoir accessories.

Desruelle told The Telegraph she opted to use the home parties business model after spending time in the UK and being inspired by the success Ann Summers has had.

Desruelle said: “I lived in the UK for a number of years until 2006. Ann Summers gave me the idea for home parties, for direct selling, and that’s what we did in France. Soft Paris is now number one in France.

“I think what really sets us apart from the competition is the quality of the product and the focus we put on female empowerment.”

She added: “What I liked about Ann Summers is that women felt comfortable, happy and confident to attend an Ann Summers party. I’m very happy to come back to the UK and build a sales network. Our products are a bit more sophisticated.”