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Nov 23, 2021
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M&S expands brand ownership, buys stake in Nobody's Child

Nov 23, 2021

M&S is going all out to expand its brand offer and its latest move is to buy a 25% stake in Nobody’s Child for an undisclosed price. The retail giant, which added the label to its offer last year, seems to be pleased by the results of the link-up and said that “following a positive first year of working together”, it’s “evolving its partnership” with the business.

Nobody's Child/M&S

In fact, Nobody’s Child was its very first external fashion brand partner and that link-up will now clearly continue and expand.

Six-year-old Nobody’s Child has been hugely popular since it arrived on the M&S webstore and the company said “its popularity demonstrates great opportunity for growth. From the outset, Nobody’s Child was popular on M&S.com and it continues to drive traffic as the most visited guest brand”. It’s also due to debut in its stores soon.

The most popular product type with M&S customers has been the range of midi dresses and, to date, dresses have been in 12% of Nobody’s Child orders on M&S.com 

The retailer said the “eco-conscious, affordable” brand will still operate independently “but with the opportunity to utilise M&S’s investment and infrastructure to scale the business. In addition to being an exciting investment opportunity, M&S will benefit from the agility of Nobody’s Child, including the brand’s focus on near-sourcing supply, which has previously been identified as a growth opportunity”.

And “as the partnership evolves there will be further opportunity for collaboration between the brands, including developing fashion and design talent and sustainability initiatives”. And example of that is where both brands have recently launched on rental platform Hire Street. 

M&S’s brand strategy has been credited with helping it to drive improvements in its fashion performance. As well as buying the Jaeger label outright, it now sells more than 30 external brands, including Sloggi, Ghost and Clarks. And it’s investing in smaller retailers via The True Fund that recently saw it add Cornish kidswear brand Frugi to its webstore line-up.

Richard Price, MD of M&S Clothing & Home, said of the investment in Nobody’s Child and the wider brands strategy: “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.”

And Nobody’s Child CEO Jody Plows added: “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.”

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