Sales of Asda's own-label clothing have doubled in two years
Asda's George clothing business has broken through the£2 billion sales barrier globally, cementing its lead in supermarket fashion.

The label has doubled sales in the past two years, testament to Asda president Andy Bond's skill in turning George into a worldwide fashion force.

Much of the growth has come from George's expansion into other Wal-Mart territories, but the brand is still performing strongly in the UK. Some 50 per cent of Asda shoppers buy George product, up from 30 per cent two years ago. An Asda spokesman said: 'There is still a lot more growth potential in the UK for George.'

George has upped the pressure on high street fashion specialists in the past 18 months by opening standalone shops. There are eight at present, but there are plans for 20 by the end of the year. Tesco has also been turning the screw on fashion with its Cherokee and Florence & Fred brands. Its clothing sales are about£700 million and up 28 per cent year on year.

The creation of a George Global team last year to handle the development of Wal-Mart clothing worldwide, shows Bond's ambition to grow George further.

Bond was managing director of George for four years until September last year. Now, as Asda president, he is charged with boosting the grocer's sales growth performance, which has been slowing recently.

Last week, Wal-Mart revealed a four-pronged Asda recovery plan to US analysts at its annual shareholders meeting. It wants Asda to compete even harder on value, take costs out of the business, push more aggressively into non-food and improve stock availability.

Separately, Asda is expanding into Northern Ireland after acquiring 12 former Safeway stores from Morrisons for£73.6 million.