Head of Asda's George to step down amid HQ cuts
Fiona Lambert helped set up and launch the supermarket fashion brand George
Fiona Lambert, the head of Asda's George clothing division, is to step down from her role amid a structural review at the UK retail group that will see hundreds of head office jobs cut.
Vice president of own label development, Lambert originally worked alongside George Davies, the founder of George, to set up and launch the supermarket fashion brand in 1990. After a period at Next, she returned in 2007 as brand director, overseeing the design, buying and quality of George clothing in stores and online. In 2014, Asda said George was the second largest clothing brand in the UK in terms of sales volume.
No details have been given as to the reason for Lambert's departure, or what her next move will be. A spokesperson for Asda said: "Fiona has made a significant contribution, with her own unique style, throughout her time with Asda as an ambassador for Tickled Pink, a supporter of Women in Leadership and externally as a judge on the coveted Gold Award judging panel for Graduate Fashion Week. Fiona leaves the business with our very best wishes for the future."
The news of Lambert's departure comes a week after Asda said it needed to "radically change" the way it does business. It warned of "another year of intense pressure at a macro-economic level" in 2016, price deflation pressure on sales, a continuing competitive environment, and radically changing customer shopping habits.
"Our eyes are open to the fact that more impactful changes and decisive action still needs to be taken to make sure we remain not only a viable business, but a strong market-leading one," it said.
A spokesperson for the retailer added: "On Monday, we started to talk to our colleagues in head office functions about what this means for them. We have made some difficult but necessary decisions but we must discuss these with our colleagues before we talk publicly."
In terms of numbers affected, Asda says this will be in the "low hundreds", but said it could not yet give an exact figure.
Asda will report its fourth-quarter and full-year strategy and trading update on 18 February in line with Wal-Mart's reporting period.
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