Shoppers are flocking to the big four rather than high-street fashion retailers for their clothes, new research has revealed.

Supermarket clothing sales have grown 6.2% by value year-on-year - more than double the 2.7% seen across the total fashion market [Kantar Worldpanel 24 w/e 24 November 2012]. They also outstripped food sales, which rose 3.4%.

Shoppers were trading down from traditional clothing stores to save money with items averaging £4.21 in supermarkets compared with £9.95 elsewhere, said Kantar Worldpanel.

“Supermarkets have always been a key place for essentials,” said analyst Charlotte Snelgrove. “To continue their strong performance they should reposition themselves as destination fashion retailers by getting shoppers to trade up to more expensive items.”

Asda described George as “outperforming in an incredibly tough market”, while Sainsbury’s this month revealed its clothing sales had grown more than 10%, driven by investment in core ranges and promotions.

“Our clothing offer continues to grow faster than Sainsbury’s food business with a gain of over a million more customers year-on-year,” said James Brown, Sainsbury’s business unit director for Tu.

Morrisons is set to launch Nutmeg, a clothing range for kids, in 100 stores this March.