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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - British men are choosing sexy knickers over short-lived and often more pricey presents such as roses and champagne this Valentine's Day as they seek a bigger "bang for their buck" in a tough economic climate.
"Lingerie is for love on a budget. It really is the gift that keeps giving," said Sharon Webb, head of design at department store group Debenhams, which is seeing demand rocket for knickers priced at 4.50 pounds ($7.24).
With a dozen red roses costing up to 100 pounds on Valentine's Day, including delivery, some men are prepared to spend a little more on lingerie, and still feel they are saving.
Sales of designer brands carried by the retail chain have been rising from one year to the next in the run-up to Valentine's Day, and Debenhams said the demand for silk and lace underwear this year again looked encouraging.
"They're less expensive, last longer and provide hours of fun long after the rose petals have wilted," it said.
Retailers are hoping Britons will set aside worries about rising bills, taxes and public spending cuts, to splash out on their loved ones on February 14.
Reporting by Mark Potter, editing by Paul Casciato