M&S invests in The Sports Edit, deal will later see it take full control
M&S is continuing its business transformation as it reaches out to more external brands and said on Tuesday that it has made a new strategic investment in fast-growing brand platform The Sports Edit.
The retailer didn’t say what stake it has taken nor how much it has paid but the deal’s terms “mean M&S will eventually own 100% of the brand”.
Yet The Sports Edit will remain as a separate business and “will be supported to grow by M&S’s investment and access to infrastructure and capabilities”.
The investment comes as sports clothing and accessories become ever more important to the firm with M&S having found that its own Goodmove activewear offer has become its biggest in-house label since its launch two years ago.
The seven-year-old Sports Edit platform founded by entrepreneur Nick Paulson-Ellis (who will continue to run it independently as CEO) offers an “extensive range of carefully selected popular customer-favourites, alongside emerging boutique brands” and has grown over the years “by concentrating on bespoke brand curation across activewear”.
It has a reputation for finding new and innovative brands in the premium sportswear, athleisure wear and yoga clothes segments.
M&S said the investment is a continuation of its strategic focus on activewear, a market now worth almost £900 million after seeing 35% growth over the last two years (according to Kantar Worldpanel).
It said The Sports Edit has been identified “as a complementary e-commerce platform well positioned in the growing activewear market, in part due to its highly engaged customer base”.
And it added that it “has a proven capability in brand curation and emerging brand identification, both of which will provide valuable learning opportunities for M&S as it further grows the ‘Brands at M&S’ platform”.
M&S COO Katie Bickerstaffe said: “Developing the ‘Brands at M&S’ platform is just one example of how we’re shaping the future of M&S. Investing in digital and growing brands is an important way to explore growth categories and ultimately build our offer so we’re relevant for our broad customer base in the future. Nick has created a brilliant activewear business and will continue to operate ‘The Sports Edit’ independently supported by this investment to scale and grow.”
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