English clothing designer and retailer. Founder of the clothing chain Next and pioneer of supermarket fashion (with the George at Asda label), he came out of retirement in 2001 to design a new women's fashion collection for Marks & Spencer through his new Per Una business. The success of the Per Una label led Marks & Spencer to buy the brand from Davies in a £125 million deal in 2004.
Having joined men's retailer Hepworth in 1981, Davies went on to launch a new chain of high street fashion outlets with English designer Terence Conran. The chain was renamed Next in 1986. Davies became joint group managing director and later chief executive. Under his tenure, the stores expanded to include womenswear, home furnishings, children's clothing, and mail order. However, by 1988 the company had expanded beyond its limits and Davies was ousted in a boardroom coup. In the 1990s Davies created the ‘affordably chic’ George brand, building it up to a £600 million-a-year business.
Davies was born in Crosby, a suburb of Liverpool. After dropping out of a dentistry course at Birmingham University, he worked as a clerk and later as a buyer at Littlewoods in the 1960s. From 1972 he had his own business, Schoolcare, before joining Pippa Dee, a party plan/lingerie subsidiary of Rosgill Holdings.
Davies, George William