SUPERMARKET Asda has unveiled plans to open its first George stores overseas as it looks to turn the fashion label into a major global brand.
The chain has set up a team at George’s base in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, to explore entering into franchise arrangements for the first time.
George expects to announce its first partner in the Middle East in the next few months, followed by store openings in the first half of 2012.
The George label already trades in six overseas countries in stores run by Asda’s US parent company Walmart, but the company now hopes to step up its expansion by opening specialist George outlets in new markets overseas through franchise agreements.
George was set up 21 years ago by George Davies, who also invented the Per Una label at Marks & Spencer.
Asda said George is now the third best-selling clothes brand by volume in the UK, selling through its 364 supermarkets and 27 Asda Living general merchandise stores. George claims to sell more childrenswear than any other retailer.
Asda chief executive Andy Clarke said: “George is a key driver in our ambition to grow our general merchandise businesses.
“True value for money isn’t just something on the minds of UK customers – getting the best quality at affordable prices resonates with shoppers worldwide.”
Asda has made growing sales of George one of its key targets in an increasingly competitive grocery market.
Clarke, who took over a year ago, has also tried to push food sales by launching a Chosen By You range and a guarantee that its grocery prices are 10% cheaper than those of its rivals.