Asda Tests Standalone Clothing Stores (By George!)

Jun 11, 2003

Asda Tests Standalone Clothing Stores (By George!)

Rick Moss

As reported in the British business press on Tuesday, Wal-Mart’s U.K. Asda
unit will test two standalone stores featuring the George clothing line, which
was previously sold only in their standard stores. The one-year trial apparently
syncs with Asda’s expressed ambition to capture 2.5 percent of the U.K. clothing
market. The company also said they are committing resources to “develop flexible
formats that offer the right ranges at the right prices”.

The new stores will be simply named “George”, extending the brand begun by
designer George Davies, who first introduced it in Asda stores in 1990 and then
sold the label to the chain in 1995. The line currently pulls in 1.0 billion
pounds ($1.7 billion) a year for Asda. The company said they intend to maintain
the line’s discount pricing in the new outlets, competing head to head with
local low-priced clothing shops Matalan and New Look.

George clothing is also now carried at Wal-Mart’s stores in the U.S., Canada,
Germany and South Korea, with testing soon to begin in Japan.

Moderator’s Comment: Will Wal-Mart (aka Asda) be able
to compete in this new arena with their fashion spin-off? If successful, will
it portend a series of standalone challenges in the U.S. market?

This strategy presents an interesting contrast to Federated’s
plans to introduce a trendy vintage private label line, originated by a small,
California apparel chain, American Rag CIE. (See RetailWire 4/10/03, “So
Old It’s New, Hopes Federated”
)On the one hand, a retailer spinning out
a private label line into a name brand; on the other a retailer adopting a brand
as its own in-house label. Out-of-the-box thinking vs. bring-it-in-the-box thinking…?
Moss – Moderator

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