Blog: Leonie BarrieThe master planners' masterplans

Leonie Barrie | 5 July 2004

George, Asda’s clothing brand, is already Britain’s second biggest clothing retailer, with annual sales of around £1 billion and annual growth of around 20 per cent over the last few years. And unlike its number one rival, Marks & Spencer, which is has been struggling to find its form of late, George is forging ahead into standalone stores and now a new, non-food supermarket concept selling everything from fashion to homewear and jewellery.

In the US, however, it’s a slightly different story. Asda’s owner Wal-Mart is struggling to find a balance between the cheap and chic, with sales of the George line coming in below expectations. The problems include drab in-store displays, hard to find merchandise, and garments whose higher fashion content more often than not fails to hit the mark with its more traditional shoppers. It’s an assessment that could apply equally well to M&S whose customers have been deserting the retailer in droves.

Wal-Mart’s plans to change its fashion fortunes include new apparel displays, with brighter lighting, wooden floors, and special signs designating each brand, and better editing of the collections to appeal to the diverse demographics of the US market. We’ll have to wait and see what M&S intends to do, however. Its boss, Stuart Rose, will unveil his masterplan a week today.


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