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Retail heavyweights hog the limelight

Lauretta Roberts

Two of fashion retail’s biggest characters made headlines this week. George Davies’ new GIVe label for the 35-plus market looks likely to be stocked by House of Fraser for spring 10.

This would be a bit of a scoop for HoF since not so orderly queues are expected to form for this range should Davies deliver his promise of well-priced, well-made, fashionable clothing for this underserved sector of the market. It would be a huge gamble to bet against the man who brought us some of the high street’s biggest success stories in the form of Next, Per Una at Marks & Spencer and George at Asda.

However, it does rather mark a move away from what the market thought was Davies’ strategy of targeting independent department stores and complementing that distribution with some carefully selected standalone locations. But if he sticks to his promise that there will only be one sales location per town or city, then he could still keep everyone happy.

The other big character is of course Marks & Spencer executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose, who faced his second AGM while in possession of his controversial dual chief executive and chairman role. In the run-up to the event, institutional shareholders were piling the pressure on Rose to split the roles in accordance with good corporate governance guidance.

In the end, as they did last year, the faithful hardcore shareholders voted Rose through and rejected a call for him to stand down 12 months early.

I’m sure some of his detractors even breathed a sigh of relief. Rose certainly did.

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