M&S insists it has no interest in George Davies after he quits Asda

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The Independent Online

Marks & Spencer insisted yesterday that it had no plans to hire George Davies, the fashion entrepreneur, following his surprise decision to resign from Asda, the supermarket chain for which he developed the highly successful George clothing brand.

Marks & Spencer insisted yesterday that it had no plans to hire George Davies, the fashion entrepreneur, following his surprise decision to resign from Asda, the supermarket chain for which he developed the highly successful George clothing brand.

"There is no intention for him to come and join M&S," a spokeswoman said. Asked whether it was wise to ignore such retail talent given M&S's continuing problems, the spokeswoman said: "We feel we've got the board sorted out. Luc Vandevelde [M&S chairman] has said he would be prepared to look at other retail talent but there are no plans for Mr Davies to join us." Mr Davies has a track record both with Asda and through his development of the Next chain in the 1980s. His departure is seen as a major set-back for Asda, which was taken over by the US Wal-Mart chain last year. Mr Davies, 57, joined Asda 10 years ago and has built a clothing business with sales of £600m.

Richard Hyman of Verdict, the retail consultants, said: "Asda is not an outstanding food retailer but it is the best non-food retailer of the food retailers, and the reason for that is George. He did not just put his name to the label, he was the heart and soul of it. And you cannot lose your heart and soul without it having a significant impact," said Mr Hyman.

Asda denied there had been any fall-out between Mr Davies and Wal-Mart. However, analysts said the departure of several senior figures at Asda such as the former chairman, Archie Norman, and the former chief executive, Allan Leighton, might have been a factor in Mr Davies's decision.

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