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The perfume industry is opting for romance over sex to push up ailing sales figures in Britain, according to a marketing report.

"Sex is out in perfume advertising," the report by the international market analysts Euromonitor said. "Romance is replacing sexual passion as a key theme in the marketing of women's fragrances. This trend is most marked in the United States, where it forms part of a 'new morality' amongst advertisers in response to the AIDS crisis."Despite major promotion campaigns, perfume sales in Britain fell by 2.9 percent to $620 million in 1990, the survey said. While total sales are forecast to reach $918 million by 1995, Euromonitor said real term growth will remain static.

British women placed second in spending on perfume at $11.98 annually, behind the French, who spend an average of $18.47. American women placed third at $11.90 followed by German women at $10.66, according to the survey.

In Britain, Estee Lauder had the highest market share at 13 percent followed by Yves St Laurent with 11 percent, Euromonitor said.