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Is George Davies making a comeback?

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Fashionisto George Davies, renowned for founding clothing retailer Next, creating Asda’s fashion label George and putting Marks and Spencer on the map with its Per Una fashion brand, is said to be preparing a return to the UK retail scene with a new project.

Davies has been out of the game for four years but is still remembered for turning M&S around under Stuart Rose’s leadership with Per Una. A well respected man in the industry, he has been considering several project offers with partners over the last twelve months and the grapevine says one of the options discussed was to work with a major British retailer.

With reported connections still in the M&S business, it seems likely this is company Davies is looking to venture with, despite claims from M&S that there are no plans on the horizon.

It is understood that Davies is close to making a decision, with propositions to be unveiled this Spring.

Success stories of Davies including setting up Next and introducing the next Directory delivery service ahead of the online revolution as well as launching George at Asda, now a multi-billion pound globally recognised business. The real victory came however, with Per Una, which gave M&S new a new lease of life, once accounting for an estimated 25% of the chain’s womenswear sales.

Davies later sold his share of the business back to M&S for £125m and has previously spoken to other retailers in the past – including Asda’s rival Morrisons – about launching new clothing brands.

Since 2011, Davies has been concentrating his efforts on opening stores in the Far East with his FG4 brand. Under the joint partnership with Saudi retail group Fawaz Alhokair, he has opened almost 100 stores in Saudi Arabia and Dubai.

But a source close to Davies told The Mail on Sunday that:

“George is passionate about the UK womenswear industry and it always seemed inevitable that he would try to do something new. He likes building businesses and creating brands. But don’t expect that to be a carbon copy of Per Una or George at Asda.”

Published on Monday 12 January by Veebs Sabharwal

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