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Clarks loses ground to rivals in footwear sales

Footwear giant Clarks has been hammered by rival high street retailers on both volume and value sales, according to figures seen by Drapers.

Clarks’ volume market share of women’s footwear slipped from 7.2% to 6.6% over the 24 weeks to January 3, year on year. The figures, from Kantar - formerly TNS Worldpanel - showed that the retailer dropped from second to fourth place, falling behind Primark and Marks & Spencer. It was already second to New Look. It indicates that shoppers opted for cheap and fashion-led footwear over comfort and quality in the recessionary months.

Value retailer Primark picked up volume market share from both Clarks and M&S, climbing from 5.8% of the market in the comparable period a year ago to 7.6%. During the summer, Primark briefly knocked New Look off top spot in terms of market share by volume. However, New Look regained its crown with 9.5% of the market over the full six months.

Last year, Clarks opted to emphasise its core values of comfort and quality over fashionability in its marketing in the belief that shoppers would return to trusted brands in the recession. However, Clarks’ value market share also dipped over the period, despite it being the higher-priced boot season.

While Clarks retained its number one spot by value ahead of M&S, New Look, Next and home-shopping firm Shop Direct, it still haemorrhaged value share, shrinking back from 10.4% to 9.9%.

In value terms, New Look and Shop Direct saw the biggest gains over the period, with value share at New Look coming in at 6.7% versus 6% in the same period a year earlier. Shop Direct’s value market share rose to 2.5%, up from 1.8%.

Clarks declined to comment.

The UK arm of German footwear retailer Deichmann notched up a 46% increase in sales to £32m over the year to December 2009 after opening six new stores during the period. Like-for-like sales increased by 10.5% during the year and the retailer sold 2.35 million pairs of shoes in the UK - a 30% advance on the previous year. Deichmann plans to open 10 more stores this year in the UK.

Footwear at a glance

Women’s footwear market share for the 24 weeks to January 3
Value share
Clarks 9.9%, down from 10.4%
M&S 6.8%, up from 6.6%
New Look 6.7%, up from 6%
Next 4.7%, up from 4.6%
Shop Direct 2.5%, up from 1.8%
Volume share
New Look 9.5%, up from 7.8%
Primark 7.6%, up from 5.8%
M&S 7.4%, up from 7%
Clarks 6.6%, down from 7.2%
Next 3.8%, down from 4.2%

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