Asda claims top spot in clothing market

Asda's George brand has overtaken high street giant Marks & Spencer to become the UK's biggest fashion retailer, it was reported today.

Figures from TNS Worldpanel Fashion for the 12 weeks to 17 August showed that George recorded its highest ever total volume market share of 10.1%. Primark was in second place with 9.9% and Marks & Spencer third at 9.8%.

The figures, reported in the Times and trade magazine Retail Week, highlight the trend for consumers to switch to cheaper rivals during the recession.

It means that George managing director Anthony Thompson has seized the market's top spot earlier than the 2011 target he set in March last year.

The increase over the period was driven by womenswear and back-to-school ranges.

Mr Thompson told Retail Week: "We've had a strong period and this shows that customers are voting with their feet, but what's important to us is that we offer great value to customers."

He acknowledged that market share leadership was likely to change hands in the run-up to Christmas as Asda is concentrated on out-of-town locations that have a less pronounced spike in festive trade.

M&S, which remains Britain's biggest seller of clothes in terms of value, has seen stronger trading in recent weeks after a smaller-than-expected 0.5% decline in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to September 26.

TNS declined to comment on the figures today.