Asda takes George brand to Middle East

ASDA, the British arm of US retailer Wal-Mart, has signed a franchise deal with a Lebanon-based firm to take its George budget fashion brand to the Middle East.

The UK’s second largest supermarket said in a statement yesterday that the Azadea Group, headquartered in Beirut, would explore options for its George label in the Middle East, without mentioning the location or the number of stores it intends to open.

Meanwhile, the group has also signed a second franchise deal with retailer SandpiperCI, based in the Channel Islands, to open George outlets in both Jersey and Guernsey.

Last year, Asda announced its intention to establish a small number of pilot George stores, which it plans to open in 2012.

George, which was launched 20 years ago, currently accounts for around half of Asda’s general merchandise sales. The supermarket said 22.5m shoppers, or half of the UK population, have purchased an item from George in the last year.

Last week Tesco signed a franchise deal with Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair & Co, the largest shopping mall owner in Saudi Arabia, as part of a move to turn its F&F clothing range into an international fashion brand.