George Davies to launch Middle East children's chain

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The Independent Online

The fashion designer George Davies has revealed plans to launch a chain of up to 120 childrenswear stores in the Middle East.

Despite it emerging last week that Mr Davies is poised to close his standalone Give shops for women in the UK just a year after they launched, his appetite for retail ventures appears undiminished. The first of his FG4 stores will open in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in January. It will be the first time he has launched a chain overseas.

Mr Davies, a former chief executive of Next who also launched the George at Asda and Per Una fashion brands, has teamed up with Fawaz Alhokair, a retail operator in the Middle East, to launch FG4, which will sell clothing, accessories, footwear and soft toys for boys and girls aged up to 14.

Mr Davies, who founded Per Una in 2001 and sold it to M&S for £125m in 2004, aims to open up to 120 FG4 shops by the end of 2011, and will target also Egypt, Dubai and Kazakhstan.

One of Britain's most successful designers, he claims to have sold £54bn of women's clothing in his 46-year career so far. However, the Give chain, aimed at women over 30 and trading through concessions and eight standalone branches, appears to have struggled.

He this month offloaded the lease on the store in London's Regent Street.