Asda to expand George abroad as UK sales slow

Kasmira Jefford
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ASDA is to expand its fast-growing clothing brand George into Europe, Britain’s second largest supermarket revealed yesterday, as it reported a slowdown in fourth quarter sales.

The Walmart-owned group said it will launch the brand’s UK website in

24 countries by September after George enjoyed “a record year”.

It also plans to open more stores abroad after launching its first franchise in Abu Dhabi last year.

The news came as Asda posted a 0.1 per cent rise in like-for-like sales in the 14 weeks to 5 January, down from one per cent last year.

Full year like-for-like sales increased one per cent.

Finance chief Richard Mayfield defended the slowdown, saying Asda deliberately decided to keep prices down to help squeezed shoppers and grow volumes.

It has invested £100m in lowering prices on basic products such as milk in the last six months.

Commenting on the horsemeat fiasco, chief executive Andy Clarke said he was “shocked” after traces of horse DNA were found in an Asda bolognese sauce and vowed to leave “no stone unturned” in addressing issues in its supply chain.

Clarke said the scandal had a “small impact” on sales and that demand for vegetarian ready-meals had increased. He added that it was too early to tell how much the tests will cost. Tesco has said the horse DNA tests could cost it at least £1m.