M&S reclaims top spot among clothing chains

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The Independent Online

Marks & Spencer has reclaimed its crown as the UK's biggest clothing retailer, but the market share of Bhs, its rival, has dived over the past year.

M&S grew its share of the clothing market, in terms of sales volumes, by 0.1 per cent to 13.1 per cent for the 12 weeks to 31 January 2010, according to TNS FashionTrak data seen by The Independent. Primark was in second place with a 10.8 per cent market share, higher by 1.1 per cent, followed by George at Asda with 9.5 per cent, up by 0.8 per cent, and Tesco which took an 8.1 per cent share, up by 0.3 per cent, over the period.

But the retail tycoon Sir Philip Green's Bhs chain registered a 0.9 per cent fall in market share to a lowly 1.9 per cent over the 12 weeks. This dragged down the total market share of Arcadia – the group behind Sir Philip's brands including Topshop and Dorothy Perkins – from 6.1 per cent to 5.3 per cent. M&S, Asda and Bhs declined to comment.

Last summer, George leapfrogged M&S to become the UK's biggest clothing retailer for the 12 weeks to 15 August. However, George and Primark typically get a boost from consumers snapping up disposable fashion items such as T-shirts over the summer.