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Asda’s Geoffrey Carr dies aged 66

Former strategy director at Asda Geoffrey Carr, who is credited for helping introduce clothing into supermarkets, has died aged 66.

Carr was born on 26 March 1952 in Grappenhall, Cheshire.

While attending Lymm grammar school Carr also managed the books at his father’s green grocer in Bridge Lane, Appleton. The business thrived and one shop quickly became four. Carr subsequently spent a number of years in the mid-1990s as the chairman of the family business – Alfred Jones.

Carr went on to study for an MA in politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University.

After leaving university Carr worked for stockbroker Scrimgeour Kemp-Gee in the mid-1980’s, where he spent 15 years covering retail, and developed close relationships with the CEOs of many retail chains across the UK.

In 1987 Carr was appointed strategy director of Asda and begun formulating a plan to bring clothing to the supermarket chain, emulating stores such as Walmart in the US.

Carr convinced the former CEO of Next, George Davies, to introduce a new brand of clothing to the supermarket after a two-week journey to the US, which took in New York, Connecticut and Dallas.

In 1990 the Asda George range was born, launching in Wimbledon. According to Davies, within three years Asda had overtaken Marks & Spencer to become the largest kidswear retailer in the UK.

Davies told Drapers: “When I left Next I was in the middle of not knowing what to do. I got a call from Geoffrey - he wanted to know if I was interested in doing something with them for out-of-town stores.

“We then travelled to America looking at how it worked in Walmarts and other stores. When it came to launching George it was down to Geoffrey. When you look back nobody was doing this.”

Carr spent five years at Asda as strategy director before going back to being an analyst in the City. In his later career he pursued a number of academic interests including passing the Bar at the Middle Temple. He never practiced law however.

Carr’s love of food and wine was central to his life. He visited vineyards all over France and Italy and had an encyclopaedic knowledge of wine regions, grape varieties and good vintages.

Following his retirement from the City Carr went on to dedicate much of his time to fatherhood and mentoring his children Arabella, Oliver, Alistair and William. Under his guidance Arabella and Oliver are pursuing careers in Law.

Carr’s funeral will be held at 3pm Tuesday 5 June at St Wilfrid’s Church, Grappenhall, Warington. 

 

 

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