George at Asda has promoted the grocer’s director of merchandising Nick Bailey to lead its overseas offensive.

Bailey began his role as George international director this month and will lead the own brand’s international franchise and digital expansion strategy.

Bailey was formerly director of merchandising for menswear and childrenswear at George and has been with the retailer since 2008. He has also held senior positions at Gap and Marks & Spencer. He will report to George at Asda retail and international director Jo Whitfield.

Bailey replaces George international boss Kevin Rusling who joined fashion and accessories retailer Monsoon Accessorize as its international director earlier this year.

Walmart-owned Asda last month opened its first store in Europe in Malta through franchise partner Cyka as part of the brand’s march overseas.

The fashion label began a strategy to take George abroad last year with openings in Abu Dhabi and the Channel Islands. George has also opened a store in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and will open a store in Amman in May. It will open further stores in the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in the summer.

It is also looking to increase its international online presence., one of the fastest growing online fashion retailers in the UK, will begin delivering to shoppers in Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Spain first as part of a phased expansion to be completed by July this year.

An Asda spokeswoman said: “Nick joins at an exciting time in George International where we are progressing new opportunities in Walmart with expansion in new and existing territories. Whilst working with Walmart, Nick will also be developing future growth with our existing franchise partners in the Middle East, Far East and Europe whilst searching for franchise partners in new territories.

“With Nick’s experience combined with his leadership and enthusiasm we will deliver our plan as the leading global fashion clothing retailer.”

The George brand is also stocked in stores of parent Walmart in 35 countries including the US, Canada and Japan.

George is the third largest UK clothing retailer by volume and value, according to Kantar Worldpanel data seen by Retail Week, and is estimated to generate £1.2bn in annual turnover.