Primark has moved a step closer to toppling Marks & Spencer from the top spot in clothing market share, after its volume share leapt to 10.1%.
Primark added an astonishing 2% to its clothing market share for the year to February, according to figures seen by Drapers from retail research firm TNS Worldpanel Fashion.
M&S’s share rose marginally to 11.4% over the year, from 11.3%, while third-placed Tesco’s share stormed up to 9.3% and fourth-placed George at Asda scored 8.7%. For the year to April 2007, Tesco’s share stood at 8.2% and George’s was 8.3%.
The phenomenal performance by value retailer Primark puts into sharp perspective last week’s bold announcement by George at Asda managing director Anthony Thompson that George would become the clothing sector’s market leader by volume by 2011.
Although the supermarket has also gained share, Primark has widened the gap between itself and Tesco and Asda, and improving product and stores mean it will be a tough competitor to catch.
Supermarket price wars are also likely to threaten Tesco and Asda’s potential volume gains this year.
Verdict Research analyst Maureen Hinton said Primark was now a “major contender” to topple M&S from the top spot next year. She attributed the surge to Primark’s increased retail space. In 2006 it traded from 3.5 million sq ft, but this has since increased to 5m sq ft across 173 shops.
Hinton said: “Primark will continue to take share from rivals and it has started moving more deeply into areas such as footwear and lingerie. Menswear and kidswear are still relatively immature markets [for Primark], which have started to look good recently.”
A source familiar with Primark said the retailer continued to trade strongly, and that its value positioning meant it was well placed to capitalise on its market share growth this year as consumers’ disposable income shrinks.
“In an economic downturn, value retailers are the winners and these figures prove that,” he said. “The benefits of the additional space are really starting to come through now.”
However, at the other end of the spectrum, value chain Matalan’s market share plummeted from 5.7% to 5.1%. Hinton said the retailer’s share had slumped because it was a “destination store with little appeal” in terms of shopfit and trend credentials.
The source close to Primark added: “Before having a London presence, Primark was always bracketed with Matalan, but they have different propositions now. Product is the most important area to Primark.”