The supermarkets were hitting the headlines this week, not for the food and drink they sell, but for their growing dominance in the UK's clothing industry.

The Financial Times reported that Asda, which sells the clothing brand George, is the leading retailer in the budget clothing market with a 17.3% share. The data, by retail consultancy Verdict Research, also found that Tesco had the fourth largest share of the market at 11%. High street retailers Primark and New Look were second and third in the survey. According to Verdict, the market would suffer without big operators like Tesco and Asda. The Scotland on Sunday continued the theme, reporting that it had spied nativity costumes for sale in Tesco. The reports suggested that there were "rails full of identical angel, shepherd and Mary and Joseph costumes". Columnist Teresa Hunter said the costumes "snuff out something of the joy, spontaneity and simplicity of the Nativity play", arguing that it was part of the fun for parents to watch their children in home-made outfits made of tea towels and pyjamas.

And the supermarkets don't have to worry about running short of clothing. The Guardian reported that "the biggest ship afloat" was due to dock in Suffolk this week with 45,000 tonnes of Christmas goods from China. It said more than 3,000 containers would be sent to retailers, containing 9,000 pairs of trainers and 742 cartons of handbags, among other things.

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