Marks & Spencer's pinnacle position as Britain's top clothing retailer has been toppled by supermarket chain Asda, owned by global giant Wal-Mart. M&S had held the number one slot for decades.

The FashionTrak retail survey from market research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres shows Asda took the lead in clothing market share at 9.4% during the twelve weeks ending July 25 this year, up from 7.3% for the same period in 2003.

The market share position of M&S, meanwhile, remained static at 9.1%, while the UK's largest supermarket chain Tesco upped its share from 3.9% to 6.5%.

Although M&S' higher prices keep it top of the market in terms of value, the news of Asda's success will only add to the woes of ceo Stuart Rose, following recent sales losses and the aggressive takeover attempt by tycoon Philip Green.

Says retail analyst Rhys Williams at Seymour Pierce: "For a long time M&S had the same kind of brand reputation as George [Asda's clothing line], but that has gone. It's going to take quite a long time for M&S to build that back up."

Ironically, George was launched by George Davis, who now designs M&S' Per Una fashion range.

George at Asda is sold in several standalone stores in the UK as well as in Wal-Mart stores in the US, Japan, Germany, Canada, Mexico and Korea. Its annual turnover exceeds £1 billion ($1.8bn; €1.5bn).

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff