July 14, 2004


Wal-Mart has not hit the clothing industry as hard as entrenched suppliers and retailers thought. Although meeting internal targets, Wal-Mart's internal line of clothing is not flying off of shelves.

Created by George Davies, the former owner of a successful chain of British apparel stores, George was part of the Asda supermarket chain in the U.K. that Wal-Mart acquired in 1999. The sleek but inexpensive clothes for women and men helped bring Asda back from the brink of insolvency in the early 1990s. As it expanded into accessories, undergarments and trendier styles, it grew to become the second-biggest selling apparel brand in the U.K., behind only Marks & Spencer. To make George a successful global brand, the company must adapt to a more demanding production cycle.

Acknowledging that looks really do matter, Wal-Mart is rolling out new apparel displays, with brighter lighting, wooden floors, and special signs designating each brand. Don't expect to see flashy TV ads for George or any of Wal-Mart's private-label apparel. Wal-Mart still spends less than 1 percent of sales on advertising, which rarely focuses on anything but price, compared with 3 percent for Target Corp.

Posted by Kevin on July, 14 2004 at 12:54 PM