NEW YORK — Wal-Mart Stores’ British-born George apparel line is pulling out the stops.
After launching the line’s women’s wear in 1,600 Wal-Mart stores last fall, the discount giant will roll out its new fall-holiday offering of career wardrobe essentials in its 2,780 stores this month.
The new line includes fully lined blazers, jackets, skirts, and pants, as well as sweaters and cardigans and stretch shirts and trousers, at $11.96 to $26.96.
George men’s wear was introduced last December and will be in over 2,000 locations this year.
"The George brand has had phenomenal success providing department store fashion at savings to our European Asda customers," said Celia Clancy, senior vice president and general merchandising manager of women’s and children’s apparel. As reported, second-quarter sales of George in Asda stores were up almost 30 percent. George Davies, previously a Next designer, launched the line 12 years ago at the British retail chain, and has since left the company.
The full U.S. roll out of the label is just another hand in a game where discounters keep upping the fashion and brand ante, in apparel as well as home goods. Target Corp. has offerings from Mossimo, Cherokee, Stephen Sprouse, Todd Oldham, Philippe Starck, Michael Graves and, more recently, Liz Lange with a maternity collection set to hit stores late this year.
At the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference last week, Target’s chief financial officer and executive vice president Douglas Scovanner noted that "each and every year, Wal-Mart gets better and better at apparel," forcing his company to stay on its toes.
Wal-Mart is already the biggest apparel and accessories business in the world, with estimated sales of at least $25 billion — more than $30 billion if Sam’s Club is included. Still, there’s plenty of growth left in the category for Wal-Mart, since it has estimated that 50 to 53 percent of its customers don’t even buy its casual sportswear.
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia