Marks and Spencer director Kate Bostock has stuck by the company's clothing strategy and hailed the recent launch of its Indigo brand.

Speaking at an investor day earlier this week, Bostock, M&S' executive director of general merchandise, said in a presentation that the company would continue to reinforce its good, better and best clothing price model.

"We all know that anyone can sell cheap products," Bostock said. "But we also know that our core customer doesn't want the lowest price - they want value which is price times quality."

Bostock was particularly bullish about the firms new Indigo women's wear range, which was launched a month ago.

"It [Indigo] already has the potential to be the second biggest brand after Per Una - within the next 12 months."

The company, whose clothing ranges also include Autograph and Portfolio, is positioning Indigo as a lifestyle brand "for young mums".

Product balancing act
"The last 18 months have been very challenging in clothing retail, and the current environment remains very tough, with increasing unemployment the prospect of high inflation, a subdued housing market and the weak pound," said Bostock.

"However, we believe that we have a strong product offer that meets our customer demands in style, quality and value."

Bostock told investors that the company was looking to maintain its lion's share of the men's wear and women's wear markets in the UK, whilst trying to bring children's wear up to speed as well.

"There are future opportunities in our lower share categories, especially in footwear across all areas of the business," she added.

Clothing competition rife
Earlier in the week reports suggested that Asda's George line of clothing had overtaken M&S as the UK's leading clothing volume retailer for the 12 weeks to 17 August.

However, Bostock was keen to underline M&S' leading position for the full-year.

She said: "The latest position still shows our number one slot in both value and volume."

Citing TNS figures for the 52 weeks ended August 2009, M&S said it was leading in terms of value, with a 10.7% market share, and volume, with an 11.2% market share.

According to the data it was trailed by Next for value, which had a 6.2% market share, and Primark for volume, which had a 10.1% share of the UK market.

George, meanwhile, had a 3.9% value share and 9.5% volume share of the market during the full-year period, according to the TNS figures.