Marks & Spencer is to add brands including Joules, Triumph and Hobbs to its selling online offer as it seeks to “turbocharge” growth.
A total of 11 brands such as Jack & Jones, Phase Eight, Seasalt Cornwall, Sloggi and White Stuff will be added to M&S.com under the banner ‘Brands at M&S’ over the next three months.
They are an extension of the high street giant’s new strategy of selling third-party brands, with existing tie-ups with the likes of Nobody’s Child and Ghost, and kidswear names including Ben Sherman and Original Penguin.
This is the latest effort by M&S to to attract new shoppers, particularly younger ones, and keep up with online competitors like Asos Plc and Boohoo Group Plc. It marks a significant change for the retailer, which since its founding in the 19th century has mainly sold its own brands. The new “Brands at M&S” strategy will give the company’s 22 million clothing customers more reason to shop on M&S.com.
Marks & Spencer revealed its overhaul plan to follow the coronavirus crisis in April last year.
M&S sells food and clothing online and in hundreds of stores across Britain, but has struggled for the past decade with declining profits amid tough competition and structural change within U.K. retail.
They saying it expected its clothing and home arm to be “severely constrained” during lockdown and remain under pressure due to an expected phased lifting of social distancing restrictions.
M&S said the brands will initially launch on M&S.com, with future opportunities in U.K. stores. Partnerships will vary from wholesale agreements to exclusive collaborations. M&S may also look to buy more labels, following its January purchase of upmarket fashion brand Jaeger.
M&S director of brands Neil Harrison said: “As part of our Never the Same Again programme, we’re pleased to be introducing guest brands throughout the spring onto M&S.com as part of our plans to turbocharge online growth.”
Bosses revealed in January that sales in the three months to December 26 fell 7.6% on a like-for-like basis, with the food division growing 2.6%, but clothing and home sales dropped 24.1%, following Covid-19 restrictions.
The move comes as rival chain Next announced it has purchased a 25% stake in upmarket fashion brand Reiss.