M&S big fashion move: adds Joules, Phase Eight, Hobbs, Seasalt for spring
Expect a radical new look to Marks & Spencer’s womenswear line-up this spring. The UK retail giant is understood to have struck deals with four independent womenswear brands to bolster sales, particularly online.
The retailer will begin selling clothes under the Joules, Phase Eight, Hobbs and Seasalt labels online and when its stores reopen after lockdown. They will join the Jaeger brand, which Marks & Spencer bought out of administration last week for £5 million.
Sources told The Times newspaper that the four brands had been chosen because they have a significant resonance with its customers and would also help with plans to drive more shoppers to its website. Online collaborations with the Nobody’s Child and Ghost fashion labels have already proven to be successful additions.
It's thought further partnerships are also under consideration to rejuvenate its menswear offer.
Although M&S has so far declined to comment on the new brand partnerships, it fits in well with chief executive Steve Rowe’s strategy plans for the business.
Earlier this month he said M&S wanted to build a curated set of brands and merchandise for its online business and to use the generous space in its stores.
“We’ve got no intention of turning this into a department store at all. This is about finding and partnering with adjacent brands,” he said.
Richard Price, managing director of its clothing and home division, has also said the retailer plans to sell “complementary” third-party brands to accelerate its transformation.
The company operates a number of its own brands already but has also cut some of these in recent years due to customer confusion. However, adding well-known brands (and labels that have attracted some sales away from M&S too) could be a savvy move.
Meanwhile, the report also said M&S has set up a division to focus on running its online operation as a digital business rather than one that’s driven by its in-store ranges.
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