George managing director Anthony Thompson admitted that the George business had stalled over the last four years and, at an analyst briefing this morning, he outlined his plan to refocus George and meet the tough targets.
He said that the George brand had focused too much on fast fashion and the under 25s market. He said that the brand would now reorganise its offer and introduce two new sub-brands that would focus on the over 45s. Last month Drapers exclusively revealed that George would also drop its Fast Fashion and Must Have sub-brands.
The core George brand will make up 70% of the new offer and will focus on the 25 to 45 year old shopper. G21, which is aimed at the under 25s, will now represent 10% of the offer. Two new sub-brands - Moda for women and Boston Crew for men - would be aimed at the over 45s and make up 20% of the offer.
Thompson said that although George had grown sales and profit over the last four years, the business had become over complicated with too many sub-brands and a complex pricing architecture.
Thompson said that the George business, worth £2 billion in sales globally, needed to refocus and would be taken back to its heritage roots. Thompson said: "The heritage of the George brand is great quality, great style and great value. We want to get right back to those aims. Part of our heritage was also to be bold and we want to build on those strong foundations."
In addition, Thompson said that George would fight to retain its number one position on kidswear market share and added that the business's ambition to become number one in market share on clothing by 2011 would mean it having to add additional sales of £500 million.
Asda chief executive Andy Bond confirmed that the business would double the number of Asda Living stores by the end of this year with the potential for 200 stores in the long term.
Thompson said: "The biggest challenge to us is converting Asda shoppers to buy George and that is where the biggest opportunity is. Only 20% of transactions at Asda at the moment include a George purchase."
Separately Andrew Moore, the former director of general merchandise planning at M&S, joined the George business as merchandising director five weeks ago. He will head up a team looking at improving operational and merchandising factors within the business. He will also look at the make up of the supply chain and the areas in which George sources product.
Other growth areas will come from launching the George business online. Thompson said that the business was looking to build a multi-channel strategy with an ultimate aim to have general merchandise and food offered on one site but that an interim site for general merchandise and clothing was expected to launch by the end of this year.