Gok gives Sainsbury's a fashion fix

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Sainsbury's is banking on the TV presenter Gok Wan doing for its clothing sales what Jamie Oliver did for the popularity of its food.

Since the grocer launched the collection, which Mr Wan helped to design, in October it has grown to account for seven per cent of Sainsbury's total womenswear sales in an average week. It has sold more than 4,500 units of a blue wrap dress in the week and a half since the second collection launched in early November.

But Mike Coupe, the company's commercial director, said the ranges had boosted wider sales of its own-brand Tu clothing. "We are seeing customers come back and trade into the Tu brand, as well as the Gok ranges," he said.

As part of plans to grow its 10 per cent share of the non-food market, Sainsbury's plans to sell 420,000 copies of the latest Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 film, the DVD of which launches on Friday. It also said that the Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 3 computer game was its biggest selling item two weeks ago, further evidence of the importance of non-food sales.

Sainsbury will not join a wave of discounting sweeping the retail sector,believing shoppers will splash out on Christmas despite a gloomy economic backdrop, Mr Coupe added.

"The evidence would suggest that when there is a family occasion, when there's a moment in time that people are bought into, whether that's the royal wedding, whether it's Hallowe'en or whether its Bonfire Night, they will spend and they will invest in a great family occasion," he said.