George Davies: 'I study my customers and how they think. Arnotts fit the bill'

Designer George Davies, the high street guru who founded Next, Marks & Spencer's Per Una fashion chain and George at Asda is bringing his new GIVe brand to Arnotts in Ireland.

The retailer has signed an exclusive deal with the Dublin department store and has also scouted other locations including Cork. Speaking to the Sunday Tribune, he said he ultimately thinks there could be six or seven GIVe stores in Ireland.

"This range I've titled 'affordable luxury'. A lot of the market has gone into being price-driven and service is not at the level I think it should be," he said, adding that he sees the new brand being a more affordable version of the top designers. Prices will vary but a pair of trousers will be priced from £70 (€85) and a tailored jacket from £150. Alterations will be done free of charge.

Asked about opening a new brand in the current economic environment, he said: "I'm nervous. Of course I am. It's like getting on stage."

The Arnotts store is set to open in the first week in October. He said that after he decided to do a new label he wanted to open in Ireland "because whenever I've traded there the response has always been terrific. Ireland was at the top of the list".

Davies said the deal with Arnotts was done within seven days . "I thought Arnotts was the sort of store that was attracting the clientele I'm looking for. I study my customers and how they think. Arnotts fit the bill," he said.

He would not be drawn on the structure of the relationship with Arnotts. "In essence it's a true joint venture," he said.