M&S takes big step forward in sports, launches The Sports Edit on its webstore
Those industry watchers who though M&S was late to the party when it launched its activewear and athleisure brand Goodmove three years ago have been proved very wrong. And now M&S is doubling down on its commitment to sports following Goodmove’s runaway success and its majority purchase of The Sports Edit last year.
The Sports Edit offer is now launching on M&S.com and “will enable customers to shop over 250 carefully curated womenswear products from sports brands, alongside access to wellness content and advice”.
The launch of The Sports Edit on M&S.com provides an opportunity to engage with new customers, who may not have shopped the platform previously. But the business will also continue to operate independently, albeit with the access to investment, resources, and capabilities to accelerate growth that being part of M&S gives it.
M&S’s acquisition of a majority stake in the platform (with the option to take full ownership) came as part of the retail giant’s wider ‘Brands at M&S’ strategy and its strategic focus on sportswear.
And it said this week that it’s now “going into battle on sportswear” which it has “identified as a growth category”.
The addition of The Sports Edit to the M&S webstore means it’s “making it easier to shop the growing category” as customers can now shop sportswear by brand, activity or product type.
The launch adds sportswear and apparel products across women’s activewear and athleisure from third-party brands including Beyond Yoga, FP Movement, Girlfriend Collective and YMO as well as footwear brands Veja and Hoka – with more “leading brands” to follow throughout 2023.
M&S said that it and The Sport Edit have “carefully selected” the brands “to sit alongside the retailer’s market-leading activewear brand, Goodmove”.
Co-CEO Katie Bickerstaffe added: “This year, we’re backing our growth categories with confidence. Building on the strong foundation of Goodmove, we’re combining our brand loyalty with the expertise of The Sports Edit to offer our customers an online sports retail platform which is a one-stop-shop for health and wellness. The launch of The Sports Edit as an integrated hub on M&S.com demonstrates the strength of our leading omnichannel platform, which continues to make M&S an increasingly attractive brand partner.”
It’s a good time for the launch with insight from the M&S Family Matters Index showing that 44% of consumers are planning to do more exercise and take their physical health more seriously in 2023. The retailer said the trend is mirrored on M&S.com as, in January, searches for trainers were up 30% vs last year.
As mentioned, activewear has been a huge growth opportunity for M&S with Goodmove having become its biggest in-house brand – selling 1.6 million products annually.
It recently added kidswear into the mix and plans to continue expanding in the active category as “the popularity of sportswear amongst M&S customers, particularly those shopping womenswear, [has] identified a clear opportunity for M&S to expand its offering as it continues to build on style, quality and value perceptions”.
It added that the global sportswear market is estimated to be worth £8.6bn, with 56% of the market dominated by brands. “The curation-led approach on M&S.com offers the M&S customer a new way to shop sportswear apparel — from fitness and performance wear to athleisure. The [Sports Edit] launch continues to build on the retailer’s market-leading position in full price women’s activewear sales, with third-party brand partners complementing the core range and filling gaps in product areas”.
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