Independents have borne the brunt of the decline in the branded fashion sector, notching up the biggest market share declines in the clothing and footwear market so far this year.
According to market share figures by value from analyst Kantar Worldpanel Fashion for the 12 weeks to April 25, indies lost 1.9% of the market to command a 5.9% share. This compared with a 7.8% slice of the pie in the same period of the previous year.
Kantar said the drop was largely caused by shoppers focusing on price over brand, which left independents unable to compete with high street retailers.
Kantar client manager Julie McPherson said: “Multiple retailers have done a lot of segmenting of product by age and price and it’s been hard for indies to compete.”
However, she added that indies’ fortunes were likely to be reversed in the second half of the year as the branded market stabilises.
The stemming of the decline in the branded market is also likely to benefit department stores, many of which have a large branded offer. The sector experienced the second-fastest fall in market share during the 12-week period, down 0.5% to 7.5%.
The biggest growth in market share was experienced by high street retailers, which took a 27.5% slice, up from 26.6% in the equivalent period of 2009. Strong growth was also seen in the general stores sector, which includes retailers such as Bhs that sell clothing alongside other categories. This sector gained 0.6% of the market, bringing its share to 12.4%.
Supermarkets also experienced growth, taking an additional 0.5% of the market to command 8.4%, driven by consumers buying more items per head. Kantar reported that one in five clothing products is now purchased in a supermarket.
“Supermarkets have gained through a combination of introducing new categories such as dresses and jeans that have a higher price point than their core offer and by increasing prices in some existing categories such as lingerie and nightwear, in a bid to become more premium and take some share of the middle market,” said McPherson.
The total fashion market grew 4% to £6.6bn in the 12 weeks.