LONDON — Marks & Spencer is taking a cue from digital giants Amazon and Next and transforming itself into a platform for mid-market fashion brands, which will sell alongside M&S clothing and lingerie.
In a bid to jump-start sales in its clothing division and leverage its growing online platform, the company is taking on a string of men’s, women’s and lingerie brands including Jack & Jones, Hobbs and Triumph.
The site already carries a few third-party brands including Finery, Nobody’s Child, Ben Sherman, Ghost and Russell Athletic. The new brands will begin rolling out this month and into the spring.
The new offering is part of M&S’ Never the Same Again program, which is aimed at adapting the overall business to be “more relevant, more often” to customers. Earlier this year, M&S bought the Jaeger brand in a further bid to inject new energy into its clothing offer.
For years, M&S has struggled with shrinking sales and supply chain problems in its clothing division, although it remains one of the largest sellers of denim in the U.K. While its food business is stable, clothing and lingerie have lagged behind due to operational reasons and because the retailer has been unable to keep up with fast-fashion competitors.
Neil Harrison, director of brands at M&S, said “the exciting mix will offer our 22 million customers product we already know they love, and introduce them to some new brands. Everything will be available with the benefits of shopping on M&S.com. We also remain committed to developing the quality, style and value of our own ranges.”
Harrison said the brands will initially launch on M&S.com with “future opportunities” in the retailer’s U.K. stores.
He said partnerships with the various third-party brands will vary, from wholesale agreements to exclusive collaborations, to owned brands such as Jaeger. The company has since named Fiona Lambert managing director of Jaeger, and said it will update in the coming weeks on the next steps for that brand.
As reported, M&S has recently taken on Afterpay (Clearpay) as a buy-now-pay-later payment partner in a bid to attract a younger customer.