Blog: Leonie BarrieGeorge no longer stands alone

Leonie Barrie | 5 March 2008

Asda’s decision to close its stand-alone chain of George clothing shops suggests the numbers just don’t stack up. The retailer has admitted its Asda Living clothing and homewares chain, which will still sell the George brand, offers a better return on investment.

Crucially, the Asda Living stores are centred in out-of-town locations – in stark contrast to the George shops which favoured prime town-centre spots and their correspondingly high rents. Obviously the high sales volumes to deliver sufficient returns here just weren’t forthcoming.

But does Asda’s decision also point to a halt in the decade-long rise of supermarket clothing? The stand-alone George stores, pitched the supermarket giant head to head with other discount retailers such as Primark, New Look and Matalan – and while there is obviously no reluctance at the lower end of the market to throw cheap and cheerful fashions into the trolley along with the rest of the weekly shop, seeking out these items on the high street is another thing altogether.

Recent research published by Verdict suggests Primark has now overtaken George as the market leader in the value clothing sector, with an 18.4% share compared to Asda’s 16.3%.

It also suggested that as prices have shifted down across the whole UK clothing market, retailers today must work much harder to inspire people to buy.

Asda to close stand-alone George stores


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