Marks and Spencer's top slot in the lucrative childrenswear market is under severe threat, a new report has revealed. Figures just released by the Verdict market research group show that the gap in the market is closing fast. There is just a mere 1.2 per cent separating the top four players selling children's clothing in the UK. Marks and Spencer's share of the market has fallen from 7.9 per cent to 7 per cent, with Woolworths, which sells the popular Ladybird brand, following closely behind with its share to within 0.2 per cent of Marks and Spencer. Asda's own label George, and the Next store group are the two other names in the top four. Five years ago, George had just 2.7 per cent of the British childrenswear market. Today it is a staggering 6.3 per cent. In July this year, George, which has been popular for children's clothing for a long time, launched a new baby range. Next meanwhile, is also big in children's clothing. The Next childrenswear range was launched in 1987 and it is now stocked in 232 of its 330 stores. The range covers newborn to age 10, with older clothing available by mail order in the Next Directory. A Next spokesman said the company's sales figures are not broken down specifically for children's clothing.