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M&S 'could lose' top clothing retailer spot to Primark

Marks & Spencer could lose its status as the UK’s top clothing retailer to Primark following plans to close 100 stores.

A study by analyst GlobalData suggests Primark could leapfrog M&S in terms of market share of the clothing sector after it announced plans to close 100 stores by 2022 as part of its turnaround programme.

M&S could lose its decades-long position as top clothing retailer if it is unable to convert sales from stores earmarked for closure to either its online business or other stores.

Maureen Hinton, group retail research director at GlobalData said: ‘‘Marks & Spencer has dominated the UK clothing market for decades, but its lead as number one is perilously close to being lost to Primark this year.

”The closure of yet more stores will hasten the decline unless it can shift the lost sales to its online channel and transfer to its other stores. But it also has to start growing total non-food sales to stem the overall decline.”

Figures from Globaldata show that M&S’s market share fell from 9.7% in 2008 to 7.6% in 2018, while Primark surged from 4.4% to 7%.

JD Sports’ market share grew from 1.1% to 2.7% over the same period.

M&S has announced it is to close 100 stores over the next four years, as it downsizes its UK store portfolio and moves more of the business online.

The high street retailer said 21 stores had already shut since the annoucement of its store estate programme in November 2016. A further 14 stores have been announced today as proposed for closure or set to close, as M&St accelerates its store closure programme. Alongside relocations, conversions, downsizes and the introduction of concessions, M&S said these closures would radically reshape its clothing and home space.


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