Lingerie retailers will be hoping for a boost this Valentine’s Day as the £4.1bn sector expects its most challenging period for 20 years.

In line with growth in the clothing market, the lingerie sector has enjoyed positive growth for the last two decades. However, according to a sector report by Verdict published today, consumer uncertainty and a weakening pound are among the factors likely to reverse this growth in 2009.

Meanwhile, the supermarkets are battling to take advantage of consumers staying in to save money for Valentine’s Day. Marks & Spencer is launching a£20 Love In deal of a meal for two, with Cava and a rose. Asda and Tesco have similar deals, with Tesco selling a full meal and wine or Prosecco for£9.

The bad weather and growing popularity of online shopping has helped e-tailers enjoy a busy week this week in the run-up to Valentine’s Day.

Figleaves chief executive Julia Reynolds said that trade had been “brilliant” since Monday and Shop Direct Group said Valentine’s-related gifts were up 87 per cent on last year.