Blog: Leonie BarrieSainsbury’s banks on change of direction

Leonie Barrie | 11 November 2003

Ubiquitous designer Jeff Banks is embroiled in a very public row with supermarket chain Sainsbury’s which wants to drop his Jeff & Co clothing line. Banks has accused the store group of having a "lack of ability to retail clothing" and is demanding a £10 million pay-out.

In recent years non-food items have turned into a phenomenal money-spinner for supermarkets – the George at Asda range is the UK’s second largest clothes retailer by volume – so it is no wonder that Sainsbury’s is making renewed efforts to regain lost ground on market leaders Tesco and Asda.

Despite his success, however, former TV presenter and Warehouse clothing chain founder Banks has always struck me as lacking mainstream credibility. Instead, he is a great marketer who has spread his name and reputation far and wide. Sainsbury’s needs to bring in new - and differentiated - clothing lines, instead of counting on a name that can also be picked up in various guises from fashion to home furnishings in Debenhams, Matalan and Argos.

Despite being unashamedly mass-market, this is exactly what has been achieved with the George range at Asda and Tesco's Cherokee line.

Designer trouble for Sainsbury's


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