The grocer Morrisons is in advanced talks with the fashion designer George Davies to launch a clothing range to take on its bigger rivals – Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's.
Mr Davies, who launched the George at Asda brand 20 years ago, could sew up a deal over the coming weeks. That raises the prospect of the new brand landing in the grocer's shops by this autumn. Morrisons does not have a major clothing range and its wider general merchandise offer is tiny compared with its rivals.
A deal between Morrisons and Mr Davies, pictured – who introduced the Per Una brand to Marks & Spencer in 2001 and founded the Next chain in the 1980s – would herald a major shift in the strategy of the grocer under its new chief executive, Dalton Philips. A financial agreement may be worth up to £20m to the fashion entrepreneur even before trading begins.
Mr Davies is one of Britain's most successful designers, who claimed to have sold £54bn of women's clothing in his 47-year career. He sold the Per Una label to M&S in 2004 for £125m.
Mr Davies and Morrisons declined to comment yesterday.