Cheap clothes market worth £7.8bn
Value retailers are responsible for virtually all clothing market growth in 2005 and 2006, according to a report from Verdict Research.

The study indicates that without value stores the clothing market would be slipping into negative territory, as it approaches saturation.

Last year, the clothing market grew by 2.3 per cent and Verdict forecasts a growth of 2.2 per cent this year. This compares with the value sector's growth over the same period of 11 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

The result is that the clothing market has only expanded by about£725 million a year over the past two years and value retailers are generating nearly£710 million of this. The average spend per head on clothing has increased by just£12 a year in both 2005 and 2006, and£11.80 of this has gone to value retailers.

Not all value retailers are prospering. More than 90 per cent of value retailers' growth this year will come from four main operators; Primark, New Look, Tesco and George.

The value market is worth£7.8 billion - approaching a quarter of the total clothing market. In 2001, the value sector accounted for 16 per cent of the market. By the end of this year, Verdict believes it will be worth 23.7 per cent.