Marks & Spencer says its brand strategy is helping to make it more relevant to its customers, as it invests in in one of its guest brands, Nobody’s Child.
The retailer is finding a range of new ways to work with third-party brands, from wholesale to strategic acquisitions, investment and exclusive collaborations. Last year it bought Jaeger out of administration for £6m, and that brand has gone on to launch a capsule collection on the M&S website this autumn.
Now M&S, an Elite retailer in RXUK Top500 research, has invested in Nobody’s Child, taking a 25% stake in the business, which is the most visited guest brand on its website. M&S sees potential in the brand’s eco-conscious approach, selling clothing made from sustainable fabrics at an affordable price.
Richard Price, managing director of M&S Clothing & Home, says: “We’re shaping the future of M&S Clothing – the strength of our own-brand product, our broad customer base and the reach of M&S.com makes us an attractive platform partner. In turn, introducing brands helps us become more relevant, more often for our 22m customers – offering them a convenient and seamless shopping experience. Nobody’s Child was the first brand to launch on M&S.com and has proved incredibly popular with new and existing M&S customers. We will continue to collaboratively develop the offer on our site, whilst now supporting the brand to grow independently as part of the M&S Family.”
M&S now has more than 30 brand partners, from Sloggi underwear to Ghost dresses and Clarks school shoes. It is investing in smaller retailers via the True fund – for example, selling Frugi childrenwear on its website.
Nobody’s Child will continue to sell on M&S’ website and next year will start selling in its shops. The two also see opportunities for working together on more sustainability initiatives – the two have recently both launched on rental platform Hire Street – and developing fashion and design talent.
Jody Plows, chief executive of Nobody’s Child, founded in 2015, says: “We are proud of the growth over the last year and particularly our M&S partnership. Nobody’s Child is an independent brand, with a passionate team committed to delivering easy to wear pieces from sustainable fabrics at affordable prices. This remains the driving force behind everything we do. We are delighted this also resonates with the M&S customer and feel Nobody’s Child is perfectly positioned to meet the needs of a wider audience. We are excited to be launching in M&S stores next year.”