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George eyes overseas growth as it turns 21

George at Asda launched a capsule collection to celebrate its 21st anniversary this week, at the same time as managing director Andrew Moore outlined his three target planks for growth.

The collection is built around separates, which can be mixed and matched to create 21 different outfits. Key pieces include a butterfly-print maxi dress, a palazzo pant jumpsuit, capri pants and a jersey dress with knot detail. The collection also features sleeveless bandeau tops and camisoles and is centred around a palette of black, white and poppy red. Prices start from £7.

Meanwhile, Moore told Drapers that, while the focus remained on “getting the basics right” in regards to the customer, product range and value, George was also seeking to grow the business through international expansion, multichannel and procurement.

He said: “We see these three areas as having huge growth potential for George for the next few years.”

George will open its first international franchise stores in the Middle East in the first half of 2012. A team has been set up in the George office in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, to explore other international possibilities.

Moore said the Middle East was a good location in terms of its demographic, as 70% of the population is under the age of 35, and 35% are aged under 14. “We think there is an opportunity for a genuine value brand in the Middle East,” he said.

George will also relaunch its website, www.george.com, later this year, with updated functionality and imagery. Moore said: “Online is a big growth potential for us and there is so much more we can do online.”

On procurement, George continues to work with Asda parent Walmart on collaborative buying to mitigate the costs of rising materials.

Separately, Asda was this week slammed by charity ActionAid over claims some staff at its factories in Bangladesh have suffered abuse or been sworn at. An Asda spokeswoman said: “In a recent meeting with ActionAid, they told us no matter what success we had in Bangladesh they would continue to campaign against us as a leading value retailer, rather than work collaboratively.”

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