Asda’s George has seized the top spot in clothing market share, delivering managing director Anthony Thompson’s target to take first place 18 months early.

Figures from TNS Worldpanel Fashion for the 12 weeks to August 17 seen by Retail Week showed that George recorded its highest ever total volume market share of 10.1%. Primark was in second place with 9.9% and Marks & Spencer third at 9.8%.

The figures represent a significant landmark for George. Thompson – a former retail director of M&S – said in March last year that he wanted to seize the volume market share top spot by 2011. The increase over the period was driven by womenswear and back to school kidswear.

Thompson said: “We’ve had a strong period and this shows that customers are voting with their feet, but what’s important to us is that we offer great value to customers.”

He said that now George has achieved its goal early, the retailer has “put one flag into the hill and is now onto the next”. George’s new mission, he said, is to become Britain’s best value-for-money clothing retailer. “Volume is important to us because it means we can negotiate well, but our customers don’t care about volume. They care that we are driving value in quality, style and price,” he said.

“Our focus is to ensure we are seen as Britain’s best value-for-money clothing retailer for our customers. We will work hard to make sure our customers see this and track it month by month.”

Thompson said he would also increase business transparency in line with Asda chief executive Andy Bond’s focus on the new culture of “democratic consumerism”.

Thompson said that George’s 100-day guarantee on back to school products had worked well, and “customers noticed the quality as well as our sharp pricing”.

He said he expected that either Primark or M&S would move into the top spot for market share over the Christmas period, when “the focus is on the high street”.

Matthew McEachran, analyst at Singer Capital Markets, said: “Market share ebbs and flows, and there are seasonal spikes. Looking at a longer period of data will give a
better picture.”

Another commentator said over the summer, volumes are driven by T-shirts and vests, as well as back to school products, in which George is especially strong.

No comment was available from Primark or M&S.


George at Asda’s share for the 12 weeks to August 17


Primark’s share for the 12 weeks to August 17