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George Davies

Founder, GIVe

If there is one person who has seen the positives of this recession, then it’s retail veteran George Davies. Identifying a gap in the 30-plus womenswear market, Davies, whose credentials include founding Next and creating Asda’s George label and Marks & Spencer’s Per Una sub-brand, boldly launched GIVe - a premium womenswear concept - via standalone stores and department store concessions, particularly with indies.

Davies’ venture prompted the market to follow suit in chasing that 30-something shopper. M&S launched sub-brand Indigo and the former team behind
the Principles chain unveiled its Mint Velvet concept, while Hobbs went younger with its NW3 sub-brand. But Davies pushed the boat furthest, with high price points and a focus on quality.

Reports of high street trading have been mixed, but the department stores have seen strong sales for GIVe, and earlier this year Davies was hailed by John Dean, chief executive of the British Stores and Shops Association, as the saviour of the indie retail sector.

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