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Sun 13 Sep 2009 11:08 PM

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UK fashion retailing icon in Saudi talks - report

Next founder, George Davies, in talks with Saudi mall owner over possible o’seas foray.

George Davies, founder of UK fashion retailer Next, and who intends launching a network of stores across the UK this autumn under the 'Give' banner, may also be eyeing up the Saudi Arabian market.

The UK’s Sunday Times reported that Davies hopes to expand overseas and has already had talks with an unnamed Saudi mall owner.

Initially, Give will open in 25 locations across the UK, with stores in London’s Regent Street and regional shopping centres. A tie-up with Beales, the UK department store, will give it access to the town-centre locations. Regent Street however will open first, on September 30, the newspaper said.

Davies hopes the chain will shake up high-street retailing by offering in-store style advisers and tailors to help customers create individual looks.

Apart from his Next activities Davies is best known for heading up the Marks & Spencer unit Pere Una.

Davies left the stores giant last year following a well publicised fraught relationship with M&S chairman Sir Stuart Rose. This weekend though, he dismissed concerns over Rose’s combined role of chairman and chief executive at M&S, saying that the more pressing issue at M&S is non-executive directors.

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