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Boohoo relaunches Debenhams as a marketplace, sets sights on growing its customer base across fashion, beauty and homewares

Debenhams: department store reborn as online marketplace

Department store Debenhams has been relaunched by new owners boohoo Group as an online fashion, beauty, sports and homewares marketplace.

Through the Debenhams marketplace, the boohoo hopes to create the UK’s largest marketplace across fashion, beauty, sport and homeware. Using the Mirakl Marketplace Platform – which specialises in creating retailer-run marketplaces – Debenhams hope that it can quickly onboard new brands, as well as maintain and extend both existing boohoo and Debenhams brand relationships.

The acquisition is an important development for the boohoo group, as it seeks to capture incremental growth opportunities arising from the accelerating shift to online retail. The marketplace represents a strategic opportunity to transform the boohoo group’s target addressable market through the creation of an online marketplace that leverages Debenhams’ high brand awareness and existing traffic.

It is also hoped that it will accelerate the boohoo group’s ambition to be a leader, not just in fashion eCommerce, but in new categories including beauty, sport and homeware.

Debenhams, which went under in December 2020 and was bought by boohoo Group in early 2021 as a online-only proposition, already sees some 300 million UK hits annually and is the UK’s number two retailer of skincare products. With the launch of the marketplace, Debenhams is hoping to build on this strong online presence to cater to the new and ever-growing demands of today’s consumer, who looks to find everything they need via a one-stop online shop.  

Mirakl’s marketplace expertise and leading technology enabled the launch of the Debenhams marketplace in only 3 months. Debenhams has also already made around 200 new brands available through the new marketplace, and new suppliers and brands are joining weekly.

Jo Graham, Chief Information Officer, boohoo group, explains: “With the launch of this marketplace, we are evolving the Debenhams brand to stay ahead of the demands of the current digital-first world of commerce. Our partnership with Mirakl is critical to this evolution. With its unmatched technology, expertise, and seller ecosystem, Mirakl is supporting us to drive forward Debenhams’ digital transformation while ensuring we maintain the iconic brand that customers have come to love since its creation over 240 years ago.”

Mirakl’s platform already underpins a raft of retaliler-run marketplaces, including Decathlon UK, Feelunique, Harvey Nichols, H&M Home, Joules and Turner Price. Underlining this increase in the adoption of the marketplace model, the 2021 Enterprise Marketplace Index shows that marketplaces grew by more than 80% year-over-year in 2020, more than double the rate of overall eCommerce growth.

“In creating an online marketplace, Debenhams is able to transform the way it reaches and engages with both existing customers and a new customer base of digital native shoppers by providing a one-stop online shop,” says Adrien Nussenbaum, Co-CEO and Co-Founder, Mirakl. “In order to thrive, businesses need to invest in their online platforms to help better navigate the new world of retail and remain resilient. This partnership with Debenhams is further validation of the capacity of our market-leading solution to enable UK retailers to meet changing customer demand and lead in this new digital age.”

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